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Hop vs. Insidious: Rocker Bunny Beats Evil Spirits

Natalie Portman, Your Highness
Your Highness with Natalie Portman.

April 10 update: Hop, starring James Marsden and the voice of Russell Brand, topped the U.S. and Canada box office this weekend (April 8-10).

Hop grossed $21.7 million according to studio estimates found at according to Box Office Mojo.

Hop‘s figures were down 42 percent compared to last week, but since this weekend’s newcomers all bowed weakly, the part-animated feature was able to remain on top. To date, Hop has collected $68.15 million domestically. Worldwide: $74.88 million. Cost: $63 million.

Russell Brand’s body fared considerably worse than his voice: Arthur, a remake of the old Dudley Moore-Liza Minnelli-John Gielgud comedy, opened at no. 2, taking in a lowly $12.6 million at 3,276 theaters. That translates into only $3,848 per site.

Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, and Greta Gerwig are featured opposite Brand in Jason Winer’s poorly received comedy, which has a mere 25 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.

Arthur reportedly cost $40m; it’ll likely have quite a bit of trouble matching its budget at the domestic box office – let alone recovering it. Russell Brand isn’t exactly a major international box office lure, either – outside the U.S. and Canada, Get Him to the Greek earned $30.4 million and Forgetting Sarah Marshall $42 million, hardly what one would call blockbuster figures. In other words, overseas prospects for Arthur are iffy.

Starring Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, and Eric Bana, Joe Wright’s thriller Hanna did better than expected this weekend (April 8-10), with $12.32 million – a mere $300,000 behind the heavily marketed Arthur – at 2,535 theaters, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Released by Focus Features, Hanna averaged an okay $4,861 per site. A number of positive notices probably helped the adult-oriented drama/thriller, though Wright’s film wasn’t exactly a critics’ favorite. Among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics, Hanna has a mediocre 57 percent approval rating, but those who appreciated the film – or at least appreciated elements in it – included the Washington Post‘s Michael O’Sullivan and the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis.

Faring better per theater than all other wide releases this weekend was the Christian-geared “triumph over adversity” drama Soul Surfer. Written and directed by Sean McNamara, and starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, and Dennis Quaid, Soul Surfer pulled in $11.1 million at 2,214 locations, averaging $5,014 per site. Those aren’t huge numbers, of course, but surely neither was the film’s budget.

Critics remained unimpressed by the handling of the “inspirational” story. Soul Surfer received a mere 38 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.

Starring Academy Award nominee James Franco, Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, and Danny McBride, David Gordon Green’s Your Highness opened at no. 6, grossing only $9.52 million at 2,769 sites. It’s Portman’s first flop of 2011, following solid numbers for both Black Swan (a late 2010 release) and No Strings Attached.

The period comedy’s average was $3,438, or about $400 less than Arthur‘s already poor numbers. Your Highness, which reportedly cost about $50m, has an embarrassing low 10 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.

Duncan Jones’ infinitely better-received mystery thriller Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, came behind Your Highness, with $9.05 million at no. 7 – down five spots from last weekend, following a drop-off rate of 39 percent. Total: $28.61 million. Worldwide: $34.31 million. Cost: $32 million. Critics and moviegoers have apparently disagreed once again, but, as usual, that’s totally the moviegoers’ fault.

Down four spots at no. 8, the Bradley Cooper-Abbie Cornish thriller Limitless collected $5.69 million (down 39 percent). Total: $64.38 million. Worldwide: $87.38 million. Cost: $27 million.

Among the top-twelve movies, Hop had the highest per-theater average, a none-too-exciting $6,000. Rango had the lowest, $1,146.

Also among the top-twelve, Insidious posted the lowest weekend-to-weekend drop-off rate, down 26.5 percent. Sucker Punch posted the steepest, down 65 percent.

Photo: Your Highness (Universal Pictures)

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Russell Brand’s rabbit voice once again topped the North American box office, followed by Russell Brand’s human voice (and body) according to Friday, April 8, studio estimates.

Hop, in which Brand loans his vocal cords to the Easter Bunny’s son, was no. 1 with $5.5 million. James Marsden co-stars. Hop was followed by Arthur, a remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore vehicle now starring Brand as the goofy millionaire-to-be. Arthur, which also features Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, and Greta Gerwig, pulled in a modest $4.5 million.

Doing better than expected was the thriller Hanna, with $4.1 million. Directed by Joe Wright, Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana.

The widely panned James Franco-Natalie Portman-Danny McBride period comedy Your Highness scored $3.8 million, followed by Soul Rider with $3.7 million. In the Christian drama Soul Surfer, AnnaSophia Robb plays surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm after being attacked by a shark when she was 13 and later musters up the nerve to once again swim in the ocean. Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid co-star.

April 4

Hop, in which James Marsden and the Easter Bunny’s teenage son attempt to save Easter, topped the U.S. and Canada box office on the April 1-3 weekend. Directed by Tim Hill, and featuring the voices of Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie, in addition to Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Kaley Cuoco, and David Hasselhoff (as himself), Hop grossed $37.54 million – about $600,000 less than estimated – according to actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

At no. 2, Duncan Jones’ mystery thriller Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, earned $14.81 million.

At no. 3, James Wan’s Insidious, produced by Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli, opened a little behind Source Code, taking in $13.27 million. The horror drama features Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey.

David Bowers’ Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was the no. 4 movie, collecting $10.04 million, down a hefty down 58 percent.

April 3

Hop, about James Marsden and the Easter Bunny’s teenage son’s attempt to save Easter, easily topped the North American box office on the first weekend of April (1-3). Directed by Tim Hill, and featuring Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Kaley Cuoco, David Hasselhoff (as himself), and the voices of Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie, Hop grossed $38.11 million at 3,579 locations, averaging a solid $10,650 per theater according to Box Office Mojo. Hop cost a reported $63 million.

Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics gave Hop a mere 25 percent approval rating, which makes Mars Needs Moms’ dismal box office figures all the more puzzling. Parents will clearly take their kids to watch all kinds of crap; perhaps it’s all about how that crap is packaged and sold.

At no. 2, Duncan Jones’ adult mystery drama Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, earned $15.05 million at 2,961 sites. Despite mostly positive reviews – 85 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics – Source Code‘s per-theater average was a disappointing $5,084, or less than half that of Hop. The good news is that this Summit Entertainment release had a relatively low budget, $32 million.

Moral of the box office story: If you make them dumb, they’ll come and bring their kids and grandparents. Try to make something different and – unless you’re Christopher Nolan – they’ll stay home playing video games or watching college football or some such.

At no. 3, James Wan’s Insidious, produced by Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli, opened a little behind Source Code, taking in $13.49 million at 2,408 locations, averaging $5,605 per site. Among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics, Insidious has a mediocre 56 percent approval rating. The horror drama features Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey.

If reports are correct, Insidious cost a mere $800,000 to produce, though its marketing campaign surely added millions to that amount. Paranormal Activity 2, for instance, cost very little to make but quite a bit to market.

Vanessa Hudgens, Sucker Punch
Vanessa Hudgens in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch

Down three spots from its top position last weekend, David Bowers’ Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was the no. 4 movie this April 1-3 weekend, collecting $10.2 million – down a hefty down 57 percent – according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Total: $38.35 million. Cost: $21 million.

At no. 5, Neil Burger’s thriller Limitless (-37.5 percent), starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel, and Robert De Niro, grossed $9.4 million. Total: $55.6 million. Worldwide: 69.9 million. Cost: $27 million.

This weekend, Limitless not only passed the $50 million milestone, but it has also earned back its production costs (not including marketing/distribution expenses) at the domestic box office. That’s more unusual than one might think.

In fact, except for Insidious, which had a ridiculously low budget (money was spent marketing the horror flick instead), Limitless is the only film on the top-twelve chart to have “recovered” its production budget at the domestic box office. (On average, studios keep about 50 percent of a film’s gross. Of course, oftentimes production companies/distributors come up with different deals, e.g., foreign pre-sales, and tax breaks that help cover budgetary costs even before the movie is actually released.)

Photo: Sucker Punch (Clay Enos / Warner Bros.)

The censored, “family-friendly,” PG-13 version of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech opened with $1.19 million at 1,011 theaters, averaging a paltry $1,181 per site according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Perhaps that’s because North American “families” don’t care about Oscar winners; they’d much rather go see Easter bunnies talking with Russell Brand’s voice.

For comparison’s sake: last weekend, the original The King’s Speech – that’s the one with all the “fuck” exclamations – collected $1.55 million at 1,062 theaters, averaging $1,467 per site. The Weinstein Co. release stars Oscar winner Colin Firth, who has spoken vehemently against the censored version, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Claire Bloom.

Meanwhile, the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed Jane Eyre, starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, continued to perform well – though not quite as impressively as before.

Despite doubling the number of theaters from 90 to 180, Jane Eyre was up only 27.5 percent this weekend, earning $1.23 million at no. 13 on the North American box office chart. As a result, its per-theater average dropped from $10,778 to $6,872; for a movie in limited release, that isn’t exactly a huge number. Although there’s still room for further expansion, how far that expansion will go remains to be seen.

To date, Jane Eyre, distributed by Focus Features, has collected $3.5 million domestically.

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3 comments

Mike -

Thanks for the link. I wasn’t doubting you — I was just surprised. I didn’t know promoting a movie was so costly.

Reply
zac -

Here’s the source:

variety.com/article/VR1118034870?refcatid=3762&printerfriendly=true

Reply
Mike -

Twenty million dollars was spent in promoting INSIDIOUS? Seriously?

Reply

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