'Wimpy Kid,' 'Sucker Punch' Hope to Take Advantage of Spring Break Crowd

3:23 PM PST 03/24/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Warner Bros.

Julian Schnabel’s controversial “Miral” also opens in limited run and both “Jane Eyre” and “Win Win” expand to new markets.

The number of wide releases opening this weekend at the domestic box office slows down to two titles: 20th Century Fox’s sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Zack Snyder’s action-fantasy Sucker Punch from Warner Bros. 

Tracking suggests Sucker Punch will open north of $20 million, while the Rodrick Rules is projected to gross in the mid teens. However, family friendly films often overperform. 
 
Rodrick Rules, based on the best-selling book series, is a budding franchise for Fox that particularly appeals to boys ages 7-12. Fox, like other studios, hopes to capitalize on more and more kids being out of school for spring break. 
 
The original Diary of a Wimpy Kid, opening a year ago, opened to $22.1 million on its way to $64 million at the domestic box office. Overseas, the movie grossed another $11.7 million. The film was a modest financial success for Fox, since it cost only $15 million to produce.
 
Rodrick Rules, costing $18 million to produce and rated PG, sees the return of the original cast but was directed by David Bowers (Flushed Away, Astro Boy) instead of Thor Freudenthal.
 
Sucker Punch is Snyder’s third film for Warners and cost $75 million to produce. The movie, rated PG-13, is an action film with a twist: The ensemble cast is made up of young women Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung.
 
According to tracking, Sucker Punch is drawing the most interest from young males under the age of 25, followed by older men and younger females. The movie enjoyed a last-minute bump in tracking, a good sign for Warners.
 
In the film — written by Steve Shibuya and Snyder — a young girl is institutionalized after she loses her mother and her sister is killed. In danger of being lobotomized, she and group of girls decide to escape. But for their plan to work, they must first enter an alternate reality — named the “brothel world” — where they will find the clues they need to win freedom.
 
Since before Christmas, teenagers have been missing in action from the multiplex. Sucker Punch hopes to reverse that trend.
 
Snyder’s next outing as director is Superman: Man of Steel.
 
Elsewhere, Relativity Media’s Limitless, Lionsgate’s The Lincoln Lawyer and Universal’s sci-fi comedy Paul enter their second weekend. Two other holdovers, Battle: Los Angeles and Rango, also are expected to remain strong contenders.
 
The specialty box office boasts a number of new openings, including the debut of Julian Schnabel’s controversial Miral, which the Weinstein Co. opens in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The film, starring Freida Pinto, has been criticized by Jewish groups for its sympathetic portrayal of Palestinians.
 
Music Box Films opens Francois Ozon’s French film Potiche — starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu — in seven theaters. The film is loosely based on the 1970s hit comic play about a bored trophy wife who takes a job managing an umbrella factory.
 
IFC Films rolls out Barry W. Blaustein’s Peep World in three theaters. The comedy stars Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson and Ben Schwartz and is about a dysfunctional family exposed in a tell-all book written by one of their own.
 
Focus Features’ Jane Eyre makes a major expansion in its third weekend, upping its theater count from 26 to 90 and entering 11 new markets. The Mia Wasikowska- Michael Fassbender pic is off to a strong start, grossing $814,932 through Wednesday.
 
Tom McCarthy’s Win Win from Fox Searchlight expands into six new markets in its second weekend for a total theater count of 23. Starring Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan, the film’s cume through Wednesday was $193,022.
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