LOS ANGELES, April 10 Moviegoers would rather
hear Russell Brand than see him.
The brash English comic claimed the top two spots at the
North American box office -- as the voice in the
live-action/animated family film "Hop," which led the field for
a second weekend, and as the star of the "Arthur" remake, which
opened poorly at No. 2, according to studio estimates issued on
"Hop" earned $21.7 million during the three days beginning
Friday, taking its 10-day total to $68.2 million. The
Easter-themed family picture was produced by Illumination
Entertainment, the animation firm behind last year's hit
"Arthur," in which Brand takes over the title role
originated by Dudley Moore 30 years ago, earned just $12.6
million during its first three days.
The film's distributor, Warner Bros., said it had hoped for
an opening in the mid-teen millions. The film cost in the
mid-$60 million range to make.
Three other films entered theaters on Friday. "Hanna," an
action movie starring 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan as an assassin,
was No. 3 with $12.3 million; "Soul Surfer," the true-life
story of a young girl who lost her arm to a shark, followed
with $11.1 million; and "Your Highness," a medieval comedy
starring newly minted Oscar winner Natalie Portman, bombed at
No. 6 with just $9.5 million.
"Hop" and "Your Highness" were released by Universal
Pictures, and "Hanna" by Focus Features. Both are units of NBC
Universal, which is controlled by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).
Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N).
"Soul Surfer" was released by TriStar Pictures, a unit of
Sony Corp (6758.T) (SNE.N).
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Beech)