UPDATE 1-‘Hop’ skips and jumps to No. 1 at box offices

* Easter-themed “Hop” takes in $38 million

* “Source Code” No. 2 with $15 million

* “Insidious” rounds out the top three
(Updates with other films, details throughout, adds byline)

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES, April 3 (Reuters) – Family film “Hop,” about a
music-loving teenage rabbit, jumped to No. 1 on North American
box office office charts with a strong $38 million ticket sales
even as theaters continued seeing sluggish overall demand,
according to studio estimates on Sunday.

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.

“Hop” was released by Universal Pictures, which is part of
the NBC Universal media company run by Comcast Corp. (CMSCA.O: Quote, Profile, Research).
“Source Code” was distributed by Summit Entertainment and
“Insidious” by FilmDistrict, both of which are privately held.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was released by 20th Century Fox,
the studio wing of News Corp (NWSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research), and “Rango” by Paramount
Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc (VIAb.N: Quote, Profile, Research). “Limitless” was
released by Relativity Media and “The King’s Speech” by The
Weinstein Co., both of which are privately held.
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Deborah Charles)

UPDATE 1-‘Hop’ skips and jumps to No. 1 at box offices