Little-known fact: The Easter Bunny is an avid box-office watcher, and thanks to the better-than-expected performance of one movie, children can expect a significant increase in chocolate eggs this year. Hop, Universal’s family comedy about the Easter Bunny’s rebellious (and Russell Brand-voiced) teenage son, sprinted ahead of the competition with $38.1 million, according to studio estimates. If the estimate holds (and that’s a big if), the film will have scored the best opening weekend of the year so far, passing Rango by about $39,000. Hop was made for $63 million by the production company Illumination Entertainment, which is now two-for-two after the breakout success of last summer’s Despicable Me. And with Easter still three weeks away, plus a splendid “A-” rating from CinemaScore audiences, Hop should have the box-office legs of a, well, rabbit.
In various alternate universes, Source Code made anywhere from seven cents to $683 billion this weekend. But in this world, the multiverse thriller settled for second place with $15.1 million. The PG-13 movie, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier who repeatedly relives the last eight minutes of another man’s life in an attempt to uncover a terrorist, earned an okay “B” grade from CinemaScore moviegoers. Like other recent thrillers, Source Code skewed older, attracting an audience that was 64 percent over the age of 30. The $32 million film was directed by Duncan Jones, who also made the 2009 sci-fi puzzler Moon – and, yes, who happens to be the son of David Bowie.
In third was the horror film Insidious, which debuted to $13.5 million. The PG-13 movie, about a comatose boy whose body becomes possessed by evil spirits, was directed by Saw’s James Wan and produced (for only $1 million) by the team behind Paranormal Activity. That horror-movie pedigree helped bring out the genre’s fans, and unlike most horror films, Insidious saw a Friday-to-Saturday spike of 13 percent. Also unlike most scary pictures, the film’s audience was slightly more male (52 percent) than female. CinemaScore graders handed Insidious a “B” rating.
Fourth and fifth place went to holdovers Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules ($10.2 million) and Limitless ($9.4 million), which dropped 57 percent and 38 percent, respectively. The fantasy action film Sucker Punch nosedived 68 percent for $6.1 million – the year’s largest second-weekend decline among wide releases. And The King’s Speech, which was replaced by a newly sanitized PG-13 cut, fell 23 percent for $1.2 million.
In limited release, the action comedy Cat Run deserves a special mention for opening to $30,000 from 103 locations, for an abysmal per-theater average of $291. Assuming an $8 ticket price and five showtimes per day, an average of 2.4 moviegoers attended each screening of the film. Check back next week for four new releases: the comedy remake Arthur, the adventure thriller Hanna, the surfing drama Soul Surfer, and the medieval stoner comedy Your Highness.
1. Hop – $38.1 mil
2. Source Code – $15.1 mil
3. Insidious – $13.5 mil
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $10.2 mil
5. Limitless – $9.4 mil