Monday, April 11, 2011
Weekend Report: 'Hop' on Top Despite Drop
Hop led another ho-hum weekend at the box office as the four new nationwide releases were modest at best. The animated Easter comedy fell 42 percent to an estimated $21.7 million. With a $68.2 million tally in ten days, it continued to track closely to Rango at the same point. That is to say, it's been solid but not exceptional.
Arthur (2011) opened in second with an estimated $12.6 million on approximately 3,700 screens at 3,276 locations, but the less-hyped Hanna and Soul Surfer were relatively more impressive. Its start paled compared to Mr. Deeds but was bigger than Alfie, among comparable titles, and it was a step backwards from star Russell Brand's last vehicle Get Him to the Greek ($17.6 million). Arthur (2011) marked Brand's first top-billed role, and its rampant marketing campaign was all about Brand's random antics. That was problematic because Brand has not developed a rapport with American audiences, and the elements that could have drawn in moviegoers, such as the story and the relationships, were given short shrift. The remake will ultimately sell a small fraction of the tickets that the original did: the first Arthur was the fourth highest-grossing movie from 1981 with $95.5 million or the equivalent of over $260 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. Distributor Warner Bros.' exit polling indicated that 54 percent of Arthur (2011)'s audience was female and 64 percent was age 25 years and older.
Hanna tracked down an estimated $12.3 million on close to 2,600 screens at 2,535 locations. While a far cry from similar movies like Salt and The Bourne Identity, the action thriller's start was decent, given its humble push. Credit goes to the general popularity of its genre and its slick, to-the-point ads.
Soul Surfer caught an estimated $11.1 million on around 2,300 screens at 2,214 locations, which was solid considering that surfing movies tend to wipeout. It was enough to land within the average range of inspirational sports dramas. Distributor Sony Pictures' research showed that 80 percent of the audience was female and 56 percent was under 25 years old. Also, it was the rare movie to score an "A+" in CinemaScore's moviegoer polling.
Despite featuring James Franco and Natalie Portman among others, Your Highness was the biggest dud of the weekend with an estimated $9.5 million opening on around 3,000 screens at 2,769 locations. That was less than half of Year One's start among comparable titles and well below other stoner comedies, including Pineapple Express and Paul. The Medieval Times don't equal high times: it can be a notoriously fatal theme at the box office (such as previous Franco flop Tristan and Isolde). What's more, the advertising for Your Highness was curiously subdued, lacking the outrageous humor that might have lifted the movie out of its medieval quagmire (referencing Franco and Portman's Oscar pedigree in contrast to the silliness didn't cut it). According to distributor Universal Pictures, 58 percent of the audience was male and 55 percent was 25 years of age and older (a similar breakdown to Paul).
Among holdovers, Insidious lived up to its name after its modest debut last weekend. It not only bucked the typical second weekend slump of the horror genre, but delivered the smallest decline among nationwide releases. It eased 27 percent to an estimated $9.7 million for a $27.1 million sum in ten days. It held much better than the mass-marketed Source Code, which subsided by 39 percent to an estimated $9.1 million for a $28.6 million total in ten days.