There were four new releases in theaters this weekend. Two of them did about what you would expect. The other two managed to subvert expectations - and in a positive way.
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
April 9, 2011
The remake of the 1981 comedy that features Russell Brand as an eccentric drunken billionaire earned $4.5 million on Friday, which is going to bring it in pretty well under expectations. It's possible that people had enough of Brand's shtick during both Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, particularly since Arthur seems to be more or less the same character as Aldous Snow, just with a different name. Look for the film to earn around $12.3 million for the weekend, which is going to leave Warner Bros. wondering why they spent $40 million on it in the first place.
Hanna, the teen assassin movie that features Atonement's star Saoirse Ronan and director Joe Wright, had a spectacular Friday, thanks to a superior marketing campaign from Focus Features that painted it as an action film worth seeing. It earned $4.1 million yesterday, which should translate to a very decent $12.3 million (yes, this is the same number I'm projecting for Arthur - the difference is that Hanna is 700 fewer screens). Word-of-mouth is generally quite positive, and could even carry it to win out over Arthur, but it seems likely that estimates will put the comedy in second place (a holdover is unquestionably going to win the weekend).
The inspirational sports movie about a surfer girl who fights the odds to get back in the water and surf after a shark devours her arm (devour!) also had a fabulous day yesterday, with $3.7 million. It's pretty clearly a comfortable option for families, and should hold up over the weekend with $11.1 million. Given that it had a budget of just $18 million, this is a movie that's going to be a win for Sony.
Yes, Your Highness is way down in fifth place on Friday, despite a pretty solid advertising campaign and the presence of James Franco and Natalie Portman. It earned $3.6 million from its 2,769 screens, which is about 500 more than Soul Surfer had. Let's just say that Your Highness is going to have a lot of trouble sniffing anywhere close to its $50 million budget, especially with a debut weekend in the area of $9.8 million (and some pretty awful reviews).
Hop, which I just saw a friend who is sitting in the theater watching it describe as "Alvin and the Chipmunks with bunnies," fell 53% from last Friday to $5.4 million. That's not entirely unexpected for the second Friday of a CGI flick, and it's going to win the weekend regardless with $17.7 million (or perhaps more).
Possibly the most surprising holdover is Insidious, which fell only 32% from last Friday, unheard of for a horror film in its second weekend. The distributor, FilmDistrict (who?), has to be thrilled. The movie's going to earn $9 million for the weekend and is blowing its $1.5 million budget out of the water.
Finally, the well-reviewed Source Code dropped a pretty hefty 46%, which is a shame considering how many people are talking it up. It should straighten out a bit over the rest of the weekend, finishing with a total of $8.1 million.