Box Office Guru Wrapup: Rio Flies High Again

Plus, Elephants, Cats, and Madea debut decently.

This weekend, the angry and not-so-angry birds of the 3D animated smash Rio held onto the top spot at the North American box office for a second weekend in a row. Results for the Easter frame's three new releases were good as the Tyler Perry comedy Madea's Big Happy Family, the circus romance Water for Elephants, and the nature documentary African Cats all connected with their respective audiences. Ticket sales for the Top 20 were up a sharp 40% from a year ago which was not a holiday session, but down a troubling 23% from 2010's record Easter weekend. Most holdovers did remain strong though.

Still attracting large crowds, Rio fended off the Tyler Perry machine to retain the number one spot with an estimated $26.8M over the holiday weekend dropping only 32% from its debut to boost the ten-day tally to a muscular $81.3M. The hold was on par with what Fox saw nine years ago with Ice Age which fell 35% in its second weekend in March 2002 which was not a holiday. With schools out on Good Friday, Rio had a more available audience that day helping to cushion the blow. Both films were directed by Carlos Saldanha as were the Ice Age sequels.

Rio's sophomore decline was almost even with last spring's leggy hit How To Train Your Dragon which slipped 34%, but easily bested the second weekend drops for recent spring toons Rango (-41%), Monsters vs. Aliens (-45%), and Horton Hears a Who (-45%). At its current pace, Rio could find its way to the neighborhood of $160M from North America and plenty more overseas. The international haul after three weeks soared to $204.7M after a sturdy $44.2M international frame putting the global gross at a towering $286M with much more to come. The worldwide take should easily climb past the $500M mark in the coming weeks as 3D animated kidpics, especially ones set outside of the U.S., travel very well.

Tyler Perry scored the fourth biggest opening of his career with his latest comedy Madea's Big Happy Family which debuted close behind in second place with an estimated $25.8M from 2,288 theaters for a robust $11,254 average. While on its way to being another moneymaker for the filmmaker and Lionsgate, this new PG-13 entry showed some audience erosion when compared to the director's past films. Happy fell behind the openings of Perry's last two Madea pics - 2006's Madea's Family Reunion ($30M) and 2009's Madea Goes to Jail ($41M). Perry's most recent comedy, last year's Why Did I Get Married Too which bowed on Good Friday as well, also debuted better with $29.3M.

While Tyler Perry films tend to draw in his fan base on the first weekend and suffer large declines in following weeks - his films tend to make 45-48% of their totals in the first three days - Happy scored a rare A CinemaScore so word-of-mouth could allow for a slightly better road ahead. African Americans made up the usual share of the audience (81%) but females were a somewhat smaller portion of the crowd at 72%. Married Too was 80% female.

Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson drew a solid crowd for their romantic drama Water for Elephants which premiered in third place with an estimated $17.5M. Based on the best-selling novel, the PG-13 film averaged $6,212 from 2,817 locations and played heavily to female audiences, lovers of the book, and Twilight fans that follow Pattinson religiously. Critics had mixed feelings but the built-in audiences came out anyway giving Fox the best opening for an adult drama this year so far. Mature-skewing thrillers and comedies have done exceptionally well this year, but regular dramas have seen more modest numbers on the first weekend. An A- CinemaScore suggests a good run ahead as counter-programming to a steady diet of testosterone flicks about to attack multiplexes.

The Easter holiday, and a concentrated advertising effort reminding audiences of it, gave a big boost to the kidpic Hop which climbed 16% from last weekend to an estimated $12.5M. The Easter Bunny pic appropriately broke the $100M mark on Easter Sunday putting the 24-day total at $100.5M.

With most major holdovers dropping by less than 30%, horror fourquel Scream 4 collapsed in its second weekend tumbling by a steep 62% to an estimated $7.2M. With $31.2M in ten days, a final gross of roughly $40M seems likely for The Weinstein Co. release putting it below the much-loved fright pic Insidious which has been winning over genre fans all month.

Disneynature's latest Earth Day documentary African Cats debuted in sixth place with an estimated $6.4M over an incredibly front-loaded weekend. With opening day being both Good Friday and Earth Day, its $3.3M take accounted for a whopping 52% of the three-day figure. The G-rated pic about feline families in Africa was narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and averaged a commendable $5,246 over the weekend from 1,220 sites. Reviews were mostly positive. Cats generated an opening gross and average similar to those of the distributor's Oceans from one year ago which bowed to $6.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of its four-day launch.

Four holdovers rounded out the top ten, all within $500,000 of each other and with low declines. Sony's uplifting girlpower drama Soul Surfer slipped just 23% to an estimated $5.6M for a $28.7M cume to date. The sleeper hit horror flick Insidious followed with an estimated $5.4M, down just 20%, with an impressive $44.2M to date.

Focus saw its action entry Hanna drop 28% to an estimated $5.3M while Summit's train disaster thriller Source Code fell a mere 18% to an estimated $5.1M. Totals to date are $31.7M and $44.7M, respectively.

Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold delivered a mediocre debut bowing in 18 theaters with an estimated $135,000 for a moderate $7,500 average. Marketed as the first film about product placement to be fully financed by product placement, the Sony Classics release did succeed in getting its title sponsor publicized in brand new places although there is no telling what effect it will have on pomegranate juice sales. Reviews for Greatest were mixed but fairly positive.

The summer box office gets an early headstart with this Friday's opening of Fast Five which kicked off its international run over Easter weekend with large number one bows in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and South Korea. The fifth installment in the lucrative Fast and Furious franchise grossed a meaty $24M from 957 theaters across the four markets with series-best openings in all territories. Australia debuted with a mammoth $10.7M setting a new studio record for Universal there while the U.K. generated $8.8M. Ten territories open next weekend along with North America including Germany, Russia, and Spain feeding audience hunger after a long drought of action tentpoles.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $117.4M which was up 37% from last year when How To Train Your Dragon returned to the top spot with $15.4M; and up 17% from 2009 when Obsessed debuted at number one with $28.6M. Neither was the Easter frame though.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

Comments

Noah S.

Noah Simon

Meh. Not excited at all for any new films this week. Maybe POM but that's around it. Excited for what I hope will be a great summer for thrillers and dramas.

Apr 24 - 07:10 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

expecting Thor to eclipse them all next weekend !!!

Apr 24 - 07:39 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

In two weekends

Apr 24 - 07:44 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Sad seeing scream 4 take a big dive. Thought it might show some legs. Next week looks boring Exept for Dylan dog which could be this year's Scott pilgem or zombieland but could suck.

Apr 24 - 07:47 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

No, no please Potter don't hit delete...I'm enjoying your blog

Apr 24 - 08:14 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

You know, I thought soMeone would say somethinglike that

Apr 24 - 08:39 PM

bijio

biji badness

thor is gonna underachieve, to put it lightly. if im wrong on this one, ill be the first to admit it - but i smell a bomb. the trailers are lame and the character itself pretty damn unknown/forgotten. there's nothing carrying this one except special effects and the fact that it's based on a comic book - hollywood's apparent sure-fire sign of success. i CAN'T be the only person on here dead tired of comic movies, right??

Apr 24 - 10:13 PM

AfroSan

Alex Wibowo

It arrived earlier in Australia, and, after watching it, it really surprised me, it was actually pretty good, up there with the first Iron Man.

Apr 24 - 11:26 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Early word on it, from advanced screening, and critics reviews, is that it is actually pretty damn good, if not fantastic entertainment. Its advertising has ben modest tho. The trailers have been good, but I don't think it'll reach Iron Man heights. Perhaps a 50-70 million opening, unless word of mouth spreads like Iron Man it couls gross more opening weekend

Apr 24 - 11:39 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

People keep saying "oh comic book movies are so overused" yet there are 10x more horror movies, rom coms, thrillers, and so on. And besides what makes comic books so different from books. Watchmen is a million times better than the Twilight (the books).

Apr 25 - 12:52 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1197233-thor/. Boom.

Apr 25 - 10:30 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

I'm dead tired of cartoons.

Apr 25 - 01:00 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

Ha seeing it today.

Apr 25 - 12:47 AM

Ken W.

Ken Wolfson

need to see Rio and Insidious

Apr 24 - 07:23 PM

Pecked

Mark P.


Yes, you would do well to see Insidious - especially in a movie theater with lots of other people. It's a heap of scary - and I do mean scary - fun.

Yay for Insidious for remaining in the Top Ten!

Apr 24 - 08:15 PM

TheAnimatorRator

Megan Gierasch

Hooray for Rio! However, there were absolutely no new films out this week that I thought were worth seeing (Water for Elephants? YUK).

Apr 24 - 07:30 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

expecting Thor to eclipse them all next weekend !!!

Apr 24 - 07:39 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

In two weekends

Apr 24 - 07:44 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Sad seeing scream 4 take a big dive. Thought it might show some legs. Next week looks boring Exept for Dylan dog which could be this year's Scott pilgem or zombieland but could suck.

Apr 24 - 07:47 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

No, no please Potter don't hit delete...I'm enjoying your blog

Apr 24 - 08:14 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

You know, I thought soMeone would say somethinglike that

Apr 24 - 08:39 PM

bijio

biji badness

thor is gonna underachieve, to put it lightly. if im wrong on this one, ill be the first to admit it - but i smell a bomb. the trailers are lame and the character itself pretty damn unknown/forgotten. there's nothing carrying this one except special effects and the fact that it's based on a comic book - hollywood's apparent sure-fire sign of success. i CAN'T be the only person on here dead tired of comic movies, right??

Apr 24 - 10:13 PM

AfroSan

Alex Wibowo

It arrived earlier in Australia, and, after watching it, it really surprised me, it was actually pretty good, up there with the first Iron Man.

Apr 24 - 11:26 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Early word on it, from advanced screening, and critics reviews, is that it is actually pretty damn good, if not fantastic entertainment. Its advertising has ben modest tho. The trailers have been good, but I don't think it'll reach Iron Man heights. Perhaps a 50-70 million opening, unless word of mouth spreads like Iron Man it couls gross more opening weekend

Apr 24 - 11:39 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

People keep saying "oh comic book movies are so overused" yet there are 10x more horror movies, rom coms, thrillers, and so on. And besides what makes comic books so different from books. Watchmen is a million times better than the Twilight (the books).

Apr 25 - 12:52 AM

dudemeister

dude meister

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1197233-thor/. Boom.

Apr 25 - 10:30 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

I'm dead tired of cartoons.

Apr 25 - 01:00 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

Ha seeing it today.

Apr 25 - 12:47 AM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

In two weekends

Apr 24 - 07:44 PM

Odd E.

Odd Even

Ugh Perry. Okay Rio? I can't wait for Sherlock Holmes 2, The Thing prequel, and MI4. Yep those are the movies I'm looking forward to.

Apr 24 - 07:46 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

Sad seeing scream 4 take a big dive. Thought it might show some legs. Next week looks boring Exept for Dylan dog which could be this year's Scott pilgem or zombieland but could suck.

Apr 24 - 07:47 PM

Steve R.

Jared Ashkenaz

I really liked Scream 4, wish it had done better

Apr 24 - 07:52 PM

doomzdavo

Doomz Davo

Same here Steve. But hey. If it surpasses the 40 million mark. There is a good chance there will be another sequel as planned.

Apr 24 - 09:26 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Not interested in anything until Thor gets here, which I am on the fence about. This summer hopefully has a lot of surprises, because right now it looks bleak.

Apr 24 - 08:10 PM

BLaCKWoLF

BLaCKWoLF .

If the early reviews are anything to go by and assuming they stay positive, we have a lot to be optimistic about :).

I also find myself pleasantly surprised about the early reviews for Fast Five....

Apr 25 - 08:26 PM

Isaac

Isaac H

Nothing surprising here. Perry continues to fork in the dough, animated film has great holdover, documentary has a solid debut with low distribution numbers. Boring, really. Here's to the summer season kicking off this weekend and the following, with Fast Five and Thor hitting theaters respectively. I probably won't be seeing the first one, as I haven't followed the franchise at all, but I'm curious about Thor. I'll wait for some reviews to make my decision. Anyone else thinking similarly?

Apr 24 - 08:11 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Rio is so charming, great animated movie, really enjoyed watching that one. Water for Elephants is beautiful. Its as good as an adaptation of the fabulous book can be. It exceeded my expectations in fact. Finally got to seeing Source Code, and it was fantastic. A bit lighter than Inception, but not being too heavy handed made it very enjoyable, and had enough in there to make you think. Dylan Dog and Fast Five next week!

Apr 24 - 08:12 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

No, no please Potter don't hit delete...I'm enjoying your blog

Apr 24 - 08:14 PM

General Wiz

Carlos Flores

You know, I thought soMeone would say somethinglike that

Apr 24 - 08:39 PM

Pecked

Mark P.


Yes, you would do well to see Insidious - especially in a movie theater with lots of other people. It's a heap of scary - and I do mean scary - fun.

Yay for Insidious for remaining in the Top Ten!

Apr 24 - 08:15 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I love Rio and Madea, both movies are great. I wish Rio could hang on a litle bit next week.

Apr 24 - 08:16 PM

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