LOS ANGELES: Reformed British bad boy Russell Brand is poised to take the top two spots at the weekend box office in North America, thanks to reigning champ “Hop” and the newly released “Arthur” remake.The CGI/live-action hybrid “Hop” is widely expected to maintain its lead following its better than expected $38 million opening last weekend. “Arthur,” in which Brand takes on the iconic title role originated by Dudley Moore, should follow with a three-day sum in the $15 million to $17 million range.
The three other new films opening Friday are the action-thriller “Hanna,” the raunchy comedy “Your Highness,” and the shark-vs.-surfer biopic “Soul Surfer.” While there’s no consensus on how they will ultimately rank, pundits expect them to gross in the $8 million to $12 million range.”Hanna” — starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana — is the only new action film and is tracking best among men of all ages. Ronan plays the young daughter of an ex-CIA agent who has been trained to become the perfect assassin.”Your Highness,” a medieval romp starring James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel, will draw male youngsters. It was originally set to open last fall.”Soul Surfer,” based on the real-life story of young surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm during a shark attack in Hawaii, is targeted at teenage girls and their moms, along with faith-based moviegoers. It stars Annasophia Robb, Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid.