LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moviegoers would rather hear Russell Brand than see him.
The brash English comic claimed the top two spots at the North American box office -- as the voice in the live-action/animated family film "Hop," which led the field for a second weekend, and as the star of the "Arthur" remake, which opened poorly at No. 2, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
"Hop" earned $21.7 million during the three days beginning Friday, taking its 10-day total to $68.2 million. The Easter-themed family picture was produced by Illumination Entertainment, the animation firm behind last year's hit "Despicable Me."
"Arthur," in which Brand takes over the title role originated by Dudley Moore 30 years ago, earned just $12.6 million during its first three days.
The film's distributor, Warner Bros., said it had hoped for an opening in the mid-teen millions. The film cost in the mid-$60 million range to make.
Three other films entered theaters on Friday. "Hanna," an action movie starring 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan as an assassin, was No. 3 with $12.3 million; "Soul Surfer," the true-life story of a young girl who lost her arm to a shark, followed with $11.1 million; and "Your Highness," a medieval comedy starring newly minted Oscar winner Natalie Portman, bombed at No. 6 with just $9.5 million.
"Hop" and "Your Highness" were released by Universal Pictures, and "Hanna" by Focus Features. Both are units of NBC Universal, which is controlled by Comcast Corp.
Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc.
"Soul Surfer" was released by TriStar Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Beech)