The Reject ReportIt ain’t Easter, right? It ain’t Easter. It ain’t white rabbit day. Don’t tell Universal that. They’re looking to bring in the golden egg with the seasonal Hop, and there’s a very good chance of that happening.

Duncan Jones’s second film, Source Code, and the new horror film from the guys who brought us Saw - thanks, guys to be named later – may have something to say about that, but whatever that is will probably fall on deaf bunny ears. See what I did there?

Well, see some more this week with the Reject Report the hollow chocolate bunny edition.

BIG HITTERS

I’m not sure if you’ve heard this or not, but kids love talking animal movies. I mean, they really really love them. You can pick this up from the success of movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks ($217.3 million domestic) and Yogi Bear ($99.9 million domestic). While Hop isn’t based on a beloved animated classic like those, it does feature a drum-slamming, jelly bean-pooping Easter Bunny voiced by Russell Brand. Actually, even with some kind of brand name behind it, a talking animal movie isn’t a guaranteed success. Look at the $11.5 million Marmaduke pulled in its first weekend last Summer. Regardless, Universal is pimping Hop to be their next big thing, and they’re invoking the name of Despicable Me to do it. Hop may not trek anywhere north of $30 million, but it will more than likely fall just underneath it. That buys a lot of jelly beans. Or it could buy a talking bunny who makes his own. Either way, it’s looking like a very green weekend for Universal and for Hop.

Don’t believe me this bunny can play the drums? See for yourself in this trailer for Hop. He talks. He plays drums. Something tells me that’s not a real bunny.

What is very real is the beloved nature surrounding Duncan Jones. His first film Moon didn’t exactly light up the box office, but $5 million it made in domestic box office was about as much Sony Classics had hoped for in the independent film. With Source Code, Jones definitely has more of a budget. He’s been able to afford Jake Gyllenhaal, who has had some pretty decent openings in his time. Jarhead wasn’t exactly a film built on brand recognition, but it was able to bring in $27.7 million its opening weekend. While Gyllenhaal isn’t likely ready to jump to the blockbuster stage – Prince of Persia‘s $90.7 million domestic take is evidence of that – he and Jones will probably get Source Code past the $20-million mark this weekend. Expect it to come in the #2 slot just over that mark.

It’s a bit “Quantum Leap”. It’s a bit 12 Monkeys. It’s even a bit Groundhog Day. It is Source Code, and you can scope out the trailer right here. Bing!

James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the director/writer team behind Saw, are back. This time they’re showing us a spooky ghost story in Insidious. It may be scaring audiences, but it isn’t likely to be scaring up a whole lot of coinage this weekend. The team had an $18.2-million opening for 2004′s Saw, but their 2007 Dead Silence opened to $7.8 million and Death Sentence, also released in 2007, opened with $4.2 million. Insidious‘ PG-13 rating will help it, but it won’t be enough to get it much more than $10 million. In fact, that number seems a little generous. If Insidious is even able to get into double digits, it will be just barely.

FAMILIARITIES

There isn’t just a whole lot to cover in the this section this week. Pretty much all the already released films will have their typical drop-offs. Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Sucker Punch will both be in the 50% area. Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer will likely have 30-35% drops each.

What should be mentioned though is The King’s Speech, which is getting put into just over 1000 screens with a newly attained PG-13 rating. No, it wasn’t one of Neil’s hideous April Fools’ Day jokes. The Weinstein Company really did reedit The King’s Speech to get away from that awful R rating. Never mind the fact the film has already brought in $135.2 million domestic. But Hollywood and studios are nothing if not greedy, and Colin Firth will be heading back to theaters to smoke cigarettes and gives speeches. He just won’t be dropping any audible F-bombs along the way.

LITTLE OPENERS

I know you, loyal audience, pretty well, and if there’s any movie I know you’re going to be clamoring for, it’ll be the one about a living tire who can blow people’s heads up with telekinetic powers. Rubber hits in limited release this weekend, and it is in fact about that very thing. Our very own Rob Hunter called the film hilarious and incredibly original in his Fantastic Fest review. Rubber opens in New York, L.A., and Austin.

Also opening in limited release are In A Better World opening in New York and L.A.; the James Gunn-directed comedy Super opening in New York, Boston, Washington DC, and L.A.; Wrecked opening in New York City; Queen to Play opening in New York and L.A.; The Last Godfather opening in select cities; Trust opening in select cities; and Circo opening in New York City.

Here’s is how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Hop – $29.2m NEW
  2. Source Code – $20.3m NEW
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – $11.6m (-51%)
  4. Insidious – $10.1m NEW
  5. Limitless – $10m (-32.8%)
  6. Sucker Punch – $8.6m (-54.5%)
  7. The Lincoln Lawyer – $7.4m (-30%)
  8. Rango – $5.8m (-40.1%)
  9. Paul – $4.6m (-30.7%)
  10. Battle: Los Angeles – $3.8m (-38.8%)

And that’s how that Easter egg is hatched. All $111.4 million worth. That puts the weekend up from the previous two, but still down from the first two weekends in March. Rango and Battle: Los Angeles set that pre-Summer bar pretty high, and not even a CG rabbit looks to be able to get the rest of the box office over it. The weekend also looks to be way down from the same weekend last year when Clash of the Titans brought in $61.2 million all by its post converted self.

We’ll be back on Sunday night to go over the numbers.

Click here for more of The Reject Report


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