Box Office: Russell Brand beats Russell Brand as ‘Hop’ stays at no. 1

British actor and comedian Russell Brand can make the rare claim of starring in the two most popular films in America this weekend, but the order of the results weren’t what many expected.

Brand lended his voice and promotional energy to the animated “Hop” and last weekend’s family friendly CG-hybrid remained on top with another $21.6 million for $68.2 million to date.  The second hit from new Universal division Illumination Entertainment, “Hop” is, well, hoppin’.

Far behind in second place was the debut of Brand’s remake of “Arthur.”  The comedy, which also stars Brand’s “Tempest” co-star Helen Mirren, found $12.7 million  That’s significantly below pre-release polling which pegged the comedy at an $18 million debut. Distributor Warner Bros. will have to hope Brand’s notoriety helps the comedy make up its $40 million budget overseas.

Coming in at no. 3 was the well-reviewed thriller “Hanna.”  Debuting in only 2,535 theaters, the Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana and Saoirse Ronan picture found $12.3 million as the Focus Features release overperformed and almost beat “Arthur” for the second slot.  

Debuting strongly in fourth was the indie “Soul Surfer” with $11.1 million.  The  inspirational story, which also features the big screen debut of country star Carrie Underwood, scored a very impressive A+ Cinemascore rating which should mean good word of mouth for the rest of its run. Sony Pictures and FilmDistrict worked hard to market to young girls and Christian audiences and their efforts seem to have been rewarded.

Another indie, the thriller “Insidious” (FilmDistrict’s solo releasing debut), came in fifth dropping just a stunning 26% for another $9.0 million and $27 million total in just ten days. Not remarkable for a horror film that cost only $1.5 million before marketing costs are factored in.

“Insidious” out grossed the opening of “Your Highness” which came in sixth with just $9.5 million.  Expectations were low for the raunchy comedy, but pre-release polling still had the debut over $11 million which obviously didn’t come to pass

Weekend actuals are released on Monday.  Next weekend’s new films include “Scream 4” and the animated “Rio” which made over $50 million internationally this weekend as it opened ahead of domestic debut.