Universal Hops Away With Victory
By John Hamann
April 3, 2011
Finishing second is Source Code, the new movie from Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), the up-and-coming director who helmed the awesome (but little-seen) Moon with Sam Rockwell. Source Code brings another strong actor to the world of sci-fi, this time Jake Gyllenhaal, who takes over the bodies of others to stop a terrorist attack. Source Code opened softly in my mind, taking in $15 million from 2,961 venues. It had an average of $5,084. From Summit Entertainment, Source Code easily had the best reviews of the weekend, and was targeting that (until recently) under-served older male market. With Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul, Battle: Los Angeles, and Sucker Punch all released in the last few weekends, there have been more choices for males, and that may have hurt Source Code. This is also our second sci-fi movie with a strong male lead in the last four weekends, with the other being the quick-to-exit Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon.
As mentioned above, Source Code is a critical darling, certified "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes. Of the 163 (!) reviews counted, 144 were of the positive variety, leaving this one at a very strong 88% fresh. It has the best reviews for adults since the Oscar nominees left theaters, and it is refreshing to see a adult sci-fi do so much better in the review department than something like Hop. The other good news is that despite the somewhat soft opening, Source Code will be a success for Summit. The studio paid $32 million for the thriller, earning half of that back from the domestic opening, and having a star with some international clout, Summit should see a decent return from this one.
Finishing third is Insidious, the new horror flick from another upstart distributor in FilmDistrict, the company put together by Graham King, who produced films like Rango, The Departed, and Traffic. After a formidable marketing campaign that seemed to call the film a hit before anyone saw it, Insidious earned $13.5 million at the box office. Released to 2,408 venues, the creepy-kid flick had a venue average of $5,604. Reviews were pretty much split down the middle, but I don't think FilmDistrict cared about reviews. The reason for this is that their film cost only $1.5 million to make. After a debut of $4.9 million on Friday, Insidious was profitable - and a big winner for an upstart studio. Insidious was put together by the team that created the Saw franchise, but they appeared to leave the tools at home for this one, generating a PG-13 rating instead of the torture-porn label.
Landing in fourth is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, as the carpet is pulled from the feet of this sequel (but you'll see that it's not nearly as bad as what happened to Sucker Punch). Rodrick Rules earned $10.2 million in its second frame, and tumbled a hard 57%. The drop isn't that much of a surprise. The first Wimpy Kid film fell 54% in its second weekend (against How to Train Your Dragon), so this one is following the pattern of the original. Made for only $21 million, Rodrick Rules will be another win for Fox, but don't look for it to beat the original, which took in $64 million. So far, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 has earned $38.4 million.