‘Hop’ Returns as No. 1 Film With $21.3 Million in Receipts

The comedy “Hop,” about a young bunny’s mission to save Easter, was the top film in U.S. and Canadian theaters for the second-straight weekend, taking in $21.3 million in ticket sales.

The PG-rated film combining animation and live action is the first film from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures to lead the box office this year and has taken in $67.8 million in two weeks of release, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

The picture held on to the top spot even with four new films vying for moviegoer attention, including a remake of the 1981 comedy “Arthur” featuring Russell Brand, one of the voices in “Hop.” U.S. theater attendance has slumped 22 percent this year as the studios’ film slates have failed to match the appeal of last year’s fare.

“This week was a ‘blah’ week, and we’ve had many of them of late with several new releases underperforming,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, an audience-reporting service. “All-in-all, it was a dull week.”

The weekend was the seventh straight “down” one in terms of receipts.

“Hanna,” an action thriller from Universal’s Focus Features, opened in second place with revenue of $12.4 million. The movie features Saoirse Ronan as a teenager who is trained to be a killer by her father, a former CIA agent, and sent on a mission. Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett co-star.

“Arthur,” a remake of the Dudley Moore picture about a bumbling, rich bachelor, collected $12.2 million for Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. to land in third place. A drunken playboy played by Brand faces the loss of his inheritance when he falls for a woman the family doesn’t like. Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig and Nick Nolte are also featured.

‘Soul Surfer’

“It was Brand’s first star vehicle where he has top billing, but he hasn’t yet developed a rapport with American audiences,” Gray said.

“Soul Surfer,” Sony Corp.’s picture about a Hawaiian teenager, generated $10.6 million to take fourth place in its debut. The movie is based on the real-life story of Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003 and returned to competitive surfing three months later.

The horror film “Insidious,” distributed in the U.S. by FilmDistrict, fell to fifth place from third with sales of $9.4 million. In the film, a family battles to free their young son from evil spirits that torment him. The movie stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.

‘Your Highness’

“Your Highness,” a comedy with Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman, took in $9.4 million to land in sixth place for Universal in its debut. McBride and Franco play sibling princes on a mission to rescue the proverbial damsel in distress played by Zooey Deschanel and save the kingdom. They’re joined on the mission by a female warrior played by Portman.

“‘Your Highness’ is by far the biggest bust of the four new releases” and is “another medieval movie flop,” said Gray. “There was a lot put behind their marketing campaign, but goofy period comedies are hard to pull off.”

Revenue for the top 12 films this weekend fell 14 percent to $102.8 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office sales this year have declined 21 percent to $2.49 billion.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for April 8 to April 10.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 HOP               $21.3    3,616   $5,890   -43    $67.8    2
 2 HANNA              12.4    2,535    4,883    --     12.4    1
 3 ARTHUR             12.2    3,276    3,731    --     12.2    1
 4 SOUL SURFER        10.6    2,214    4,789    --     10.6    1
 5 INSIDIOUS           9.4    2,419    3,874   -29     26.7    2
 6 YOUR HIGHNESS       9.4    2,769    3,380    --      9.4    1
 7 SOURCE CODE         8.7    2,971    2,912   -42     28.2    2
 8 LIMITLESS           5.5    2,655    2,057   -41     64.1    4
 9 DIARY OF WIMPY KID  4.8    2,881    1,656   -52     45.3    3
10 THE LINCOLN LAWYER  4.3    2,420    1,769   -37     46.1    4
11 RANGO               2.3    2,007    1,147   -49    117.5    6
12 SUCKER PUNCH        2.1    1,755    1,198   -65     34.0    3

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $102.8 $119.3 -14

Year-to-date Revenue

2011 2010 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $2,491 $3,135 -21 Year-to-date Attendance: -22%
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