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Natalie Portman Is a Better Actor, But at the Box Office, Her Ass Has Nothing on Odette Yustman's

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | April 10, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | April 10, 2011 |

It was a crummy weekend at the box office, where four new releases vied to surpass last week’s number one film, Hop, and all went down swinging against jelly-bean turds. Russell Brand couldn’t unseat himself, as the Arthur remake could only muster a $12.6 million opening, less than even tempered studio expectations. It also, in a way, dims Russell Brand’s prospects as a future leading man, as he hasn’t demonstrated that he can carry a film yet. I’m not even sure why anyone thought he could. It used to be that Hollywood would wait until an actor landed a big hit before he or she was asked to carry his or her own movie, but now apparently, an actor’s box-office prospects are based on something as ethereal as Twitter buzz. See also: Michael Cera and Alex Pettyfer.

England, you can take Brand back home now. We’re all done with him.

Meanwhile, it was something of a surprise that Hanna managed third place with $12.3 million, meager as that is, considering the woeful marketing (I barely had any idea what Hanna was about before Michael Murray’s review, and it was only after reading it that I sought it out). The movie is playing particularly well to African-American and Hispanic audiences (per Deadline) and, honestly, I couldn’t tell you why. But good for Joe Wright and, especially, Saoirse Ronan, who maybe takes some attention away from the other up-and-comer teenage women, Jennifer Lawrence, Chloe Moretz, and Hailee Steinfeld. Given how thin Ronan is, and her obvious ability to whoop some ass, I wonder why she didn’t get more consideration for The Hunger Games?

The Christian-themed one-arm surfer flick, Soul Surfer, landed in fourth place, again with a relatively small box-office of $11.3 million, but given the small budget, it’s already a profitable movie, thanks in large part to church-bus groups, who showed up in droves to watch a shark gnaw the arm off a teenage girl.

However, the big box-office failure of the weekend was the medieval stoner comedy, Your Highness, which flopped like a dead fish in a brothel. I guess we should’ve seen it coming when the marketing began to focus almost exclusively on Natalie Portman’s ass, but why see the movie when they’re giving away the ass for free in all the adverts? Overall, the film scored a C+ with audiences, and that’s a dreadful Cinemascore, given how bias most moviegoers are toward movies they paid to see. The $9.5 million is $10 million less than what the last movie that exploited its female stars’ ass, The Unborn, opened with, and Odette Yustman didn’t have the benefit of James Franco, which doesn’t appear to be as much a benefit as was once believed. I had a lot of hope for the comedy, but that began to wane as soon as reviews started comparing it unfavorably to Year One, which may have been the worst non-sequel comedy of the last five years.

Elsewhere in the box office, Insidious held up extremely well, dropping only 26 percent; Source Code, Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer continue to perform modestly, while the bottom fell out of the bottom of Sucker Punch, which put up only $2 million in its third week and doesn’t look likely to break $40 million.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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