‘Wimpy Kid’ movie No. 1 at box office

Published 7:36 pm Monday, March 28, 2011

The second installment of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules,” which stars Clanton’s own 12-year-old Grayson Russell, did quite well at the box office — grossing $24.4 million in its first weekend — according to the Internet Movie Database.

Grayson’s mother, Crystal Russell, said the film’s success exceeded her expectations.

“It is such a blessing for Grayson to be a part of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ movies,” she said. “When he began work on the first one, we had no idea how well it would do. It was so exciting for him to get to do a sequel. The kids are all friends, and for them to get to work together again was great. I expected this one to do well at the box office on opening weekend, but it surpassed my expectations.”

The movie opened Friday night, and the Russells were at AmStar theater in Alabaster for an autograph session and viewing.

“We had a very good turnout for opening night in Alabaster,” Grayson said. “I am so excited that the movie did so well opening weekend.”

The movies are adaptations from a book series of the same title by Jeff Kinney. There are five of the books, but Crystal Russell said she doesn’t expect the current “Wimpy Kid” cast to make more than three movies because they will most likely be too old; the characters in the books do not age.

“They will have to hurry to get in a third one,” she said.

Grayson, who plays the character Fregley, is in seventh grade, the same grade as the characters. She said he has been fortunate to get to attend public school while pursuing his film career.

Locals who know the family have been very complimentary and excited for Grayson, she said. The family-friendly series has certainly expanded his audience, as his big break came in a PG-13 comedy.

“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Grayson to portray a character from a children’s book series that has sold over 42 million copies,” Crystal Russell said. “Now we will just keep our fingers crossed, in hopes of making a third one.”