April 3, 2011 / 10:56 PM / 7 years ago

"Hop" skips and jumps to No. 1 at box offices

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Family film “Hop,” about a music-loving teenage rabbit, jumped to No. 1 on North American box office charts with a strong $38 million ticket sales even as theaters continued seeing sluggish overall demand, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Cast member Hank Azaria (R) and son Hal attend the premiere of the film "Hop" in Los Angeles March 27, 2011. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

The movie, which combines live-action with animation and features comedian Russell Brand in the voice of a young rabbit who will one day become the Easter Bunny, outdistanced the No. 2 film, thriller “Source Code,” which collected $15 million.

Rounding out the top three was horror film “Insidious” with $13.5 million. All three movies were in their first weekends in theaters, and they entered during a months-long period of slumping ticket sales. The major studios are hoping their blockbuster summer movies will reverse that trend.

Overall ticket sales were down a sharp 27 percent this weekend compared to the same period last year, and year-to-date domestic box office is off just more than 20 percent, according to ticket sales tracker Hollywood.com Box Office.

One of the few bright spots has been the market for family films. Among some of the best performers have been movies such as “Hop” and the animated “Rango,” in which Johnny Depp voices the character of a cowboy chameleon in the Wild West.

“Rango,” in its fifth week in theaters, continues to play in the top 10 on box office charts. It landed at No. 8 this weekend with $4.6 million in ticket sales, pushing its cumulative total to nearly $114 million.

Last week’s No. 1, youthful-minded “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules,” fell to No. 4 with a 57 percent drop in revenue to $10.2 million. Its total now stands at $38.4 million.

Rounding out the top 5 was another holdover, thriller “Limitless,” which took in $9.4 million and pushed its total box office to $55.6 million in three weeks in theaters.

Hollywood also was closely watching the release of Oscar winner “The King’s Speech” in a new version that extracted some of the strong language in order to appeal to younger fans who may not have been able to see the original.

The new version took in an estimated $1.2 million, down 23 percent from last weekend when the adult “King’s Speech” raked in $1.5 million. Its overall sales now stand at $137 million.

Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Deborah Charles

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