The Reject ReportAh, remember Dudley Moore and how funny he was in Arthur with the top hat and the bubbles and slurred speech? What’s that? You know the name, but you’re both under 30 and can’t stand the classics? Warner Brothers is hoping for that, too, as they’ve now remade the film starring Russell Brand.

Now they’re hopes rest on it returning an Arthur-sized fortune. That could be very well what happens here, and Brand will probably have his name splashed all over the #1 and #2 movies this weekend. He’ll have some competition from some pothead knights, a pair of adolescents. One is an assassin. The other is a surfer. The surfer might not be much competition, but that pairing would make one hell of a buddy movie.

BIG HITTERS

Russell Brand is on a high. Hop opened to $37.5 million last weekend, and while the crowd for that film might not totally carry over to Arthur, there’s probably going to be some run-off. In essence, he could become the new Adam Sandler if these PG-13 comedies start to hit big. Brand’s live action roles have mostly been R-rated fare like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Both of those films opened to around $17.5 million. However with Brand gaining momentum and Arthur being a brand – a somewhat obscure brand but a brand nonetheless – this latest film could easily crack into the $20 millions. It may not beat out Hop‘s 2nd weekend take, but when you’re starring in the top two films at the box office, do you really care which one edges the other out?

Oh, look, they’re referencing Batman and Star Wars, too. This Arthur remake sure looks funny. At least Luis Guzman does. Check out the trailer right here:

On the other side of the film rating coin, Your Highness will be going after the R-rated crowd. It’ll be opening on around 600 less screens than Arthur. That will likely hurt its chances of giving the PG-13 comedy a run for its money, but the presence of Danny McBride, James Franco, and Natalie Portman will surely help. It just remains to be seen how much. Director David Gordon Green’s last outing, Pineapple Express, was aimed at the same audience. It pulled in $23.2 million its opening weekend, but that was a Summer release and had Seth Rogen’s name in the top billing. Your Highness will come in somewhere around $15 million, maybe a little higher but still a worthy effort for McBride’s first wide release at the top of the cast.

Get a little bit of that R-rated humor right here with the red band trailer for Your Highness. Then smoke something. Like a salmon or something:

On a more serious note, the weekend sees two films each centering on a teenage girl trying to overcome a run-in with a shark. In Hanna’s case, that shark looks like Cate Blanchett, and it’s the most attractive shark I’ve ever seen. The Joe Wright-directed thriller stars Saoirse Ronan as a young girl trained in the wilderness by her former CIA agent father played by Eric Bana. Joe Wright’s last film, The Soloist, debuted with $9.7 million. With its action tone, Hanna could drop in a bit North of that.

Soul Surfer is the other wide release this weekend featuring a teenage girl who must overcome adversity brought on by a shark. This one is an actual shark, and the girl is real life shark attack survivor and surfer Bethany Hamilton. Let’s be honest here. Soul Surfer looks, feels, and acts like a film that shouldn’t be getting released on 2200 screens. That it’s directed by Sean McNamara of 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain fame is a testament to that. Nonetheless, TriStar is pumping out the film reels and opening this one big. Dennis Quaid is in it, but you probably didn’t know that until I told you two seconds ago. Look for Soul Surfer to bring in around $7.5 million if it’s lucky. I’m being generous with that number, but you never know. There might be some McNamara completists out there with 3 Ninjas posters on their wall. I’m looking at you, Salisbury.

FAMILIARITIES

Hop was #1 last weekend, and despite being trounced by critics, it will more than likely repeat here. That damn bunny is just too cute regardless of what spills out of him when he gets excited. With no other kid-friendly pictures in wide release until Rio next weekend, it’s looking like the Easter Bunny might be a two-time reigning champion.

Source Code and Insidious will probably have between 45-50% drops this weekend. Not spectacular for Source Code but outstanding for Insidious, which could very well bring in another $6-7 million this weekend. At this point FilmDistrict is just raking in the cash given the approximate price tag of $1 million Insidious carries with it. You can expect the marketing machine for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark to begin soon and be quite ubiquitous.

That puts the weekend box office at $108.1 million, down a bit from last weekend but still a strong outing considering none of the new releases are looking at smash openings. In these months before the Summer blockbusters begin spilling in any weekend that comes in over $100 million could be considered a solid showing.

LITTLE OPENERS

Opening in limited release are American: The Bill Hicks Story opening in New York City, Ceremony opening in New York and L.A., Blank City opening in New York City (opened on Wednesday), Meek’s Cutoff opening in New York City, Born to be Wild opening on 200 IMAX screens across the nation, To Die Like a Man opening in select cities, Henry’s Crime opening in L.A., and No eres tu, soy yo opening in select cities.

Here’s is how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Hop – $23.6m (-37%)
  2. Arthur – $21.2m NEW
  3. Hanna – $10.8m NEW
  4. Your Highness – $15.6m NEW
  5. Source Code – $8.2m (-44.2%)
  6. Soul Surfer – $7.7m NEW
  7. Insidious – $6.6m (-49.5%)
  8. Limitless – $5.5m (-40%)
  9. The Lincoln Lawyer – $3.9m (-42.6%)
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules – $5m (-50%)

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

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