Armed with an arsenal of weapons and one gnarly imagination, the young women of Sucker Punch nonetheless met their match in the form of a seventh-grader named Greg Heffley. Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was voted most popular by moviegoers this weekend, grossing $24.4 million, according to studio estimates. Based on Jeff Kinney’s bestselling “novels in cartoons,” the comedy sequel outperformed last year’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which debuted to $22.1 million. Rodrick Rules, about that best-left-forgotten period known as middle school, was produced for $18 million, and the fact that the PG-rated film surpassed its budget on opening weekend bodes well for the green-lighting of a third Wimpy Kid movie. Furthermore, Rodrick Rules received a strong “A-” grade from CinemaScore audiences. Granted, half of CinemaScore’s survey sample was under the age of 18.
Warner Bros.’ $75 million action pic Sucker Punch, about a clique of girls attempting to escape from a 1950s insane asylum, settled for second with $19 million. The PG-13 film was No. 1 on Friday, but it dropped 17 percent on Saturday. (Rodrick Rules, by comparison, leaped 32 percent on Saturday). This was director Zack Snyder’s worst live-action debut, behind 300 ($70.9 million), Watchmen ($55.2 million), and Dawn of the Dead ($26.7 million). Snyder’s next project is Superman: Man of Steel, which is assured to generate larger numbers for the filmmaker. Sucker Punch skewed young and male, with 74 percent of the audience under the age of 35, and 64 percent sporting a Y-chromosome. CinemaScore moviegoers awarded it a mediocre “B-” rating, with younger audience members being more enthusiastic than older ones.
The rest of the top five displayed surprising staying power. In third, the Bradley Cooper thriller Limitless fell only 20 percent for $15.2 million. The crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, held up even better – it dropped a scant 17 percent for $11 million. In fifth place was Rango, which declined 35 percent and snatched $9.8 million. On Saturday, the animated Western became the first 2011 movie to cross $100 million domestically. Today, the romantic comedy Just Go With It should reach the $100 million mark as well, becoming star Adam Sandler’s 12th movie to do so.
In limited release, Jane Eyre and Win Win continued to perform well. Jane Eyre expanded to 90 theaters and grossed $1 million, while the wrestling drama Win Win pinned down $471,000 from 23 locations, for a solid per-theater average of $20,478. Check back next week as the Easter Bunny comedy Hop, the possessed-child horror film Insidious, and the sci-fi thriller Source Code unspool.
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $24.4 mil
2. Sucker Punch – $19.0 mil
3. Limitless – $15.2 mil
4. The Lincoln Lawyer – $11.0 mil
5. Rango – $9.8 mil