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Box Office: 'Hop' bounds into first place [Updated]

April 3, 2011 |  9:31 am

Hop"Hop," the hybrid live-action-animation comedy about the Easter bunny's teenage son, was the box office winner this weekend, grossing a strong $38.1 million in ticket sales, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures.

It was the second weekend in a row that a film made for children beat out more mature fare at the box office.

Far exceeding prerelease audience surveys, "Hop" posted the biggest take of any film on its opening weekend so far this year, and made substantially more than the two new lower-budget adult films in wide release this weekend. "Source Code," a sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, got off to a pretty good start after opening to $15.1 million. And "Insidious," an inexpensive horror film from the makers of "Paranormal Activity," also performed well, collecting $13.5 million.

Meanwhile, Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch," which was in its second weekend of release, did not hold well -- plummeting 68% after its soft opening to gross only $6.1 million. That's the biggest second-weekend drop of any movie this year. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules," based on a series of popular childrens' novels and last weekend's No. 1 film, fell 57% and came in fourth with $10.2 million. Last year's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," the first film in the franchise, fell 54% on its second weekend in theaters.

"Hop," whose main character is voiced by comedian Russell Brand, was financed by Universal Pictures and Relativity Media for around $63 million. Not surprisingly, 75% of the audience who came to see the film were kids 12 and under with their families, and they liked the film, giving it an average grade of A-minus, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

"Hop" was made by producer Chris Meledandri's movie company Illumination Entertainment, which last July released the animated hit "Despicable Me." That film performed even better than "Hop," opening to $56.4 million and went on to collect $251.5 million domestically and another $276.5 million overseas.

While the movie was able to fend off competition from "Wimpy Kid" and Paramount's "Rango" this weekend, it will face stiff new competition in two weeks when the animated 3-D family film "Rio" hits theaters.

Overseas, "Hop" opened in 26 foreign markets, where the movie collected a less impressive $7 million. It was the No. 1 film to premiere in Britain, and also debuted in big markets like Germany and Italy. The movie will launch in five new markets, including Australia and Israel, next weekend.

"Source Code," meanwhile, went into the weekend with excellent critical reviews -- the movie currently has an 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences who saw the film didn't love it as much as critics, but still have it a decent average B grade. Men and women came to see the movie in nearly equal proportion, though it was mostly an older audience -- 76% of whom were between 18 and 49.

The movie, which is about a soldier forced into a secret military program through which he relives the last eight minutes of another man's life, was the first film financed by French producer Philippe Rousselet's company Vendome Pictures, for $32 million after tax credits.

Insidiouswide "Insidious," which stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, cost much less to make -- only around $1.5 million -- making it an immediate hit. The movie, which has already earned money from international presales, was the first release from FilmDistrict, the company formed by producer Graham King last September. The film attracted both young females and males, but it was unclear how they felt about the movie, as FilmDistrict was unable to immediately provide a CinemaScore. It will likely open in its first foreign market, the United Kingdom, in a month.

In limited release, IFC's "Super" starring Rainn Wilson debuted on 11 screens and made a so-so $52,800. The movie will expand into 25 additional markets next weekend.

[Updated at 10:23 a.m.: "Source Code" opened this weekend in seven foreign markets, grossing a solid $5.6 million and performing best in Britain. Next weekend, the film will debut in 12 more markets, including Brazil and Turkey.

Also overseas, two films passed the $100-million mark. "Battle: Los Angeles," which is called "World Invasion" abroad, has so far grossed $100.5 million in 60 foreign markets. The Sony release collected an additional $14.7 million this weekend, opening in the No. 1 spot in both Spain and Denmark. "Rango," Paramount's computer-animated film, brought its international tally to $107.7 million, grossing $8.8 million this weekend in 55 foreign markets. It is performing best in Australia, France, and Russia.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with foreign grosses where available, according to studio estimates and

1. "Hop" (Universal/Relativity): Opened to $38.1 million. $7 million in 26 foreign markets.

2. "Source Code" (Summit/Vendome): Opened to $15.1 million. $5.6 million in 7 foreign markets.

3. "Insidious" (FilmDistrict): Opened to $13.5 million.

4. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" (20th Century Fox): $10.2 million in its second weekend, down 57%. Domestic total: $38.4 million.

5. "Limitless" (Relativity): $9.4 million in its third weekend, down 38%. Domestic total: $55.6 million.

6. "The Lincoln Lawyer" (Lionsgate/Lakeshore): $7.1 million in its third weekend, down 34%. Domestic total: $39.6 million.

7. "Sucker Punch" (Warner Bros./Legendary): $6.1 million in its second weekend, down 68%. Domestic total: $29.9 million. $12.4 million in 39 foreign markets. International total: $21.2 million.

8. "Rango" (Paramount): $4.6 million in its fifth weekend, down 53%. Domestic total: $113.8 million. $8.8 million in 55 foreign markets. International total: $107.7 million.

9. "Paul" (Universal/Relativity): $4.3 million in its third weekend, down 45%. Domestic total: $31.9 million. $1.2 million in 12 foreign markets. International total: $32.7 million.

10. "Battle: Los Angeles" (Sony/Relativity): $3.5 million in its fourth weekend, down 54%. Domestic total: $78.5 million. $14.7 million in 60 foreign markets. International total: $100.5 million.]


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Photos: Box office top 10

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-- Amy Kaufman

Photos, from top: E.B. the bunny, voiced by Russell Brand, is the star of "Hop"; Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson star in "Insidious." Credits: Universal Pictures; Film District