'Your Highness' may bow to Russell Brand for top spot

Click to follow

On April 8, a couple of comedies, an action thriller and a sports drama are the new choices at this weekend's US box office and it could be a toss-up for a frontrunner. Despite star power, Russell Brand's brand of Arthur looks to be in the lead among new releases but his film Hop could stay on top.

Your Highness, a medieval romp starring Danny McBride ( Tropic Thunder) - who also co-wrote the screenplay - James Franco ( 127 Hours), Zooey Deschanel ( 500 Days of Summer), and Natalie Portman ( Black Swan), follows Fabious, who enlists his lazy brother Thadeous to help rescue his princess from an evil wizard.

Co-written and directed by David Gordon Green ( Pineapple Express), the fantasy comedy adventure with its broad humor is attractive to primarily a young male crowd, especially with the stars attached.

The director's Pineapple Express earned $87.3 million and opened with $23.2 million but came off co-star Seth Rogen's huge hit Knocked Up, which Danny McBride does not bring along. Your Highness could make about $12 million.

Another adult comedy, Arthur, a remake of Dudley Moore's signature role, stars Russell Brand, who could maintain his box office power with this film. This update follows a likeable drunken billionaire who must marry the right woman for the family's business interests or lose his inheritance. It costars Helen Mirren ( Red) and Jennifer Garner ( Valentine's Day).

The original Arthur opened in 1981 with $2.7 million and went on to earn $95.4 million (or $260 million, adjusted for ticket price inflation), according to imdb.com. The 2011 Arthur could land in the mid-teens, taking $15-17 million and leading the weekend's new releases.

Brand's Easter bunny movie, Hop, is likely to stay in first, according to boxoffice.com, and should leap over rivals with an estimated $24 million, dropping from last weekend's $38.1 million. Fandango.com, the online cinema ticket retailer, reports Hop is selling at 23 percent.

The other two opening films feature female leads and could each earn about $10 million.

Action thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan ( The Lovely Bones), Cate Blanchett ( Robin Hood), and Eric Bana ( Star Trek), is a combination of Bourne Identity and Kick-Ass, with a teen female trained as an assassin on a mission across Europe. It is directed by Joe Wright ( The Soloist), who worked with Ronan on Atonement.

Soul Surfer, a cross between 127 Hours and The Blind Side, follows the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who returned to surfing after losing her arm in a shark attack. It stars AnnaSophia Robb ( Race to Witch Mountain), Dennis Quaid (G .I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and Helen Hunt ( Cast Away).

Arthur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbSP1EDWdzQ
Your Highness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_pHsk42324
Hanna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5W7F8atHY
Soul Surfer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npz5eZ4-ehc