Box Office: ‘Sucker Punch’ can’t stand up to ‘Wimpy Kid’s’ $24.4 million heat

Proving Walt Disney isn’t the only studio with its finger on the pulse of the tween market, 20th Century Fox’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roddick Rules” opened at number one this weekend with a very impressive $24.4 million.  Not only is that higher than the original’s $22.1 million debut last year, but makes the film a major profit center for Fox considering its $18 million budget.  Expect many more “Wimpy Kid” films down the road as author Jeffrey Kinney has four other “Wimpy Kid” novels ready to exploit.

Opening in the second slot was Zack Snyder’s critically savaged “Sucker Punch” with $19 million.  The action-fantasy-drama hybrid came in slightly under expectations, but actually overperformed at IMAX locations.  With a reported budget of at least $75 million, “Punch” is another out of the box experiment that hasn’t lived up to the media’s expectations.  As it’s hard to see “Sucker” making more than $45 million in the U.S., Warner Bros. will hope to stop the bleeding or break even after marketing costs overseas.

Raising eyebrows, “Limitless” dropped only 19% for third for an impressive $15.2 million and $41.2 million after just 10 days.  Relativity Media’s first solo hit, the Bradley Cooper thriller is already a huge profit center for the mini-major after the company sold off most of the international rights to cut their investment (outside of marketing) to just $1 million.  Obviously playing to great word of mouth, “Limitless” could easily hit the $80-90 million mark when all is said and done.

Also enjoying strong audience buzz was Matthew McConaughey’s “The Lincon Lawyer.”  The well received drama dropped only 17% for another $10.9 million and $28.8 million to date.  “Lawyer” should easily pass the $50 million mark sometime next month.

“Rango” crossed the $100 million mark in the fifth slot with another $9.7 million and $106.3 million to date.  Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s “Just Go With It” also crossed the magic threshold this weekend.  For those keeping tabs at home, the former “Friends” star now has four $100 million grossers to her credit.

Opening in limited release, The Weinstein Company’s “Miral” found $65,000 in four theaters for an OK $16,500 per screen.

Next weekend’s new releases include “Source Code” with Jake Gyllenhaal, “Insidious” and the semi-animated “Hop.”

Box office actuals for the weekend will be released on Monday.