Universal’s Easter pic Hop overperformed in its domestic box office debut, grossing an estimated $11.4 million on Friday from 3,570 theaters. The CGI/live-action hybrid is on track to gross north of $38 million for the weekend, and has a shot at becoming the top opening of 2011 for a non-holiday weekend.
Hop is looking like another win for Universal’s foray into the animation business, a venture led by Chris Meledandri of Illumination Entertainment. Last summer, Despicable Me opened to a much better than expected $56.3 million.
Universal estimated that Hop would open in the low $20 million range; rival studios say the studio’s aggressive marketing campaign is paying off, with tracking picking up in recent days. Hop also is benefiting from kids being out of school for spring break.
Paramount’s Rango currently holds the crown for best 2011 opening for a non-holiday weekend ($38.1 million).
It was a good day overall at the box office. FilmDistrict’s debut title Insidious also beat expectations, nearly catching Summit Entertainment’s Source Code, even though Insidious is playing in 500 fewer theaters.
Source Code grossed $5 million on Friday from 2,861 theaters to come in No. 2, putting it on track to earn $15 million for the weekend, a strong start for Summit.
Insidious grossed an estimated $4.8 million from 2,408 theaters to place No. 3. The film should reach $12 million for the weekend, a big financial win for Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney’s FilmDistrict, since the horror-thriller was an acquisition.
Jeanne Berney, executive vice president of marketing, is credited with running a smart campaign for the film, which was produced by Jason Blum of the Paranormal Activity franchise, and directed by James Wan.
Relativity Media’s thriller Limitless came in No. 4 on Friday, grossing an estimated $3 million from 2,838 theaters for a cume of $49.2 million.
Facing competition from Hop, 20th Century Fox family film Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules fell 62% from the previous Friday to roughly $2.8 million from 3,161 theaters for a cume of $31 million in its first eight days. Kids pic came in No. 5.
Lionsgate’s The Lincoln Lawyer showed the lowest drop of any film on the top 10 chart, declining 30% to an estimated $2.1 million from 2,707 theaters for a cume of $34.7 million. The adult-skewing legal thriller came in No. 6 for the day.
Another title the film business is watching closely this weekend is the PG-13 version of The King’s Speech, which the Weinstein Co. opened in 1,006 theaters on Friday after pulling the R-rated version. Early estimates show the new version staying at about the same level as last weekend, when the movie grossed $1.6 million. The Weinstein Co. is hoping the tamer version attracts families.