“Hop” leapt over the competition to become the first movie of 2011 to enjoy two consecutive weeks at #1 on the box-office tally over the weekend. Featuring Russell Brand as the voice of the Easter Bunny, the kids’ flick successfully thumped four new movies: “Hanna,” “Soul Surfer,” “Your Highness” and Brand’s own “Arthur.” All figures are according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
The $12.6 million opening for English comedian Brand’s remake of the 1981 comedy “Arthur” was no match for the $21.6 million collected by the live-action/animated hybrid “Hop,” which has earned a total of $68.1 million since its premiere. Neither film is a hit with critics, with both garnering just a 24-percent approval rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from major film columnists across the country.
The first “Arthur” earned original star Dudley Moore an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an alcoholic millionaire and grossed $95.5 million, which is equivalent to $260 million in 2011 when you adjust for ticket-price inflation. The new version, which co-stars Helen Mirren (who hosted “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend) and Jennifer Garner, doesn’t seem likely to come close to the original’s success. And the remake’s debut is far behind the $17.6 million generated by the opening weekend of last year’s “Get Him to the Greek,” which co-starred Brand alongside Jonah Hill.
Saoirse Ronan, who earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination at age 13 for her role in “Atonement,” plays a young assassin in “Hanna,” which came in at #3 on the box-office chart with a $12.3 million take. Joe Wright, who directed both “Atonement” and “Hanna,” told Movieline that he sees his latest film as an authentic girl-power alternative to the “incredibly sexist” recent release “Sucker Punch.” Film critics seemed to agree. Wright’s movie enjoys a 71-percent score on the Tomatometer, while director Zack Snyder’s (“300″) “Sucker Punch” sit with 21 percent and fell from the box office’s top 10 this weekend, earning just $2.1 million for a $33.9 million total. Ronan, who also known for her co-starring role in director Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones,” has been cast in the same filmmaker’s much anticipated adaptation of “The Hobbit.”
“American Idol” winner and country megastar Carrie Underwood made her film debut with a small role as a Hawaiian church pastor in “Soul Surfer,” based on the true story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost most of one arm in a shark attack at age 13 but was back on her board a month later. The movie, which acts as something of a cinematic companion to Hamilton’s autobiography published by MTV Books, debuted at #4 after earning $11.1 million. Reviews have been split almost evenly for the flick. ” ‘Soul Surfer’ takes [a] story of complex emotions, determination and faith and turns it into overly simplistic mush,” wrote Christy Lemire of the Associated Press, although Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gliberman said the movie, “while formulaic in design,” is both “authentic” and “heartfelt.”
“Your Highness” was the weekend’s biggest bomb. Despite putting Oscar winner Natalie Portman and Oscar nominee James Franco alongside “Eastbound and Down” comedian and co-writer Danny McBride in a sword-and-sorcery adventure laced with modern stoner humor, the movie opened with just a $9.5 million take and scored just a 25-percent positive average with critics. Director David Gordon Green worked with Franco on another stoner comedy, “Pineapple Express,” in addition to his role as a director and producer on McBride’s popular HBO comedy series, “Eastbound.” Green told MTV News that there are a couple of choice deleted scenes from “Your Highness” he’d like to put on the DVD, where the film may find a bigger audience.
Small-budget horror flick “Insidious” made $9.7 million in its second weekend of release for a total of $27 million. Its $1.5 million budget isn’t much more than that the budget for the original “Saw,” which — like “Insidious” — was directed by James Wan. “Source Code” isn’t likely to earn huge numbers, but it boasts the distinction of being the year’s second-best-reviewed film (just behind Paul Giamatti’s “Win Win”) and was #7 on the weekend box-office tally with $9 million for a two week total of $28.6 million.
“Hangover” co-star Bradley Cooper’s “Limitless” made another $5.6 million for a $64.3 million total. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” was #9 with $4.8 million for a $45.4 million total. “The Lincoln Lawyer,” the well-received drama that Matthew McConaughey says he took a pay cut to appear in, rounded out the top 10 with $4.6 million for a $46.4 million total.
This weekend’s new releases include campy and self-aware ensemble horror sequel “Scream 4″; the latest animated animal movie from the makers of “Ice Age,” “Rio” (which already opened well in some international markets); and director Robert Redford’s post-Civil War drama, “The Conspirator.”
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