Universal’s Hop has just earned 2011’s highest debut weekend – if today’s estimate of $38.1 million from 3,579 locations proves accurate. For now the three-day estimate for the live-action/CGI-animated comedy stands less than one million ahead of Rango’s record from five weeks back.
|4||Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2||$10,200,000||$38.3|
|6||The Lincoln Lawyer||$7,050,000||$39.6|
|10||Battle: Los Angeles||$3,500,000||$78.4|
Whether Hop manages to unseat Rango or not, the title of 2011’s highest debut will not prevent this weekend from, once again, lagging far behind 2010 in terms of overall box office grosses. That’s because last April the 3D Clash of the Titans dominated with a $61.2 million launch. The Green Hornet – this year’s highest grossing 3D release – took ten days to surpass that amount. Even Disney’s The Last Song earned over $16 million in its first frame one year ago; explaining why this weekend will be way down by over 25%.
Another notable release from 2010 was Universal’s Despicable Me, the animated comedy which soared to over $250 million here in the US. Producer Chris Meledandri used the good will he engendered with that film to promote Hop, another original family film with a reported price tag of less than $70 million. Meledandri can certainly claim another hit, with Hop exceeding most projections by $10 million or more. The trouble is that Hop has nowhere near the critical appreciation that accompanied Despicable Me. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at just 23% as of Sunday, but with Easter still on the horizon and no significant family fare competition until Fox’s Rio hits in two weeks, Hop should have no trouble becoming 2011’s third feature to cross the $100 million mark.
At the other end of the critical spectrum is this weekend’s number two film, Source Code. The sci-fi drama from Moon director Duncan Jones has garnered some of this year’s best reviews and stands at 89% fresh on RT’s Tomato Meter. Still, the fact that Source Code’s star Jake Gyllenhaal has thus far failed to become a consistent box office draw had many fans of Moon worried that the film would end up a financial flop along the lines of Love and Other Drugs. So the good news is that Source Code avoided that fate. If its estimated $15 million from 2,961 locations is not overwhelming, it is at least in line with projections and completely acceptable given the film’s reported budget of $32 million.
Of course, all budget to grosses comparisons pale beside this weekend’s number three release Insidious. The supernatural horror pic comes from the folks at FilmDistrict, the same team behind what is perhaps the most profitable film of all time, Paranormal Activity. Word is that Oren Peli and Jason Blum spent a bit more this time around ($1 million before advertising) but with pre-sales they were already in profit before this weekend’s $13.5 million from 2,408 locations was announced.
Last weekend’s big story was the defeat of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch at the hands of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. One week later, Diary 2 is down 57% for an estimated $10.2 million. That is in line, however, with the dip of the first Wimpy Kid, which dropped 54% after its first weekend in March of 2010. Again, things were much worse for Sucker Punch which declined by a disastrous 68% for a new domestic total of just under $30 million in ten days.
Next weekend brings four new releases with Warner Brothers’ Arthur redux the front runner. One bit of additional business this week was the release of The King’s Speech in its new and improved, family-friendly, PG-13 format. This did not seem to stir much new interest in the film which added just over $1.1 million to the film’s already impressive $135 million domestic total.