On Easter weekend the animated hit Rio managed to hold on to its number one perch for a second weekend in a row with an estimated $26.8 million. The padding between Fox’s birds and the Tyler Perry’s bawd was pretty slim, however. In second place Madea’s Big Happy Family was right behind Rio with an estimated $25.8 million.
|2||Madea’s Big Happy Family||$25,800,000||$25.8|
|3||Water for Elephants||$17,500,000||$17.5|
Normally I would tell you that, with estimates so close, the studio’s Monday box office report might make everything I’m about to write, um, wrong. And while I’m hesitant to ever count out a Tyler Perry movie, in this case I’d be very surprised if Madea’s Big Happy Family were able to pull ahead of Rio: a film with a wider potential audience on this supposed ‘holiday’ weekend.
As expected, the combined estimates for this Easter weekend’s top ten films will indeed extend 2011’s ‘up’ weekend winning-streak to two. That’s because one year ago the box office saw three new releases including The Losers and The Back-Up Plan which, combined, barely top Rio’s second weekend total. That puts us up by 34% over 2010. If we want to measure Easter weekend grosses, however, 2011 will end up behind 2010’s total – which included the $61 million debut of Clash of the Titans – by more than 25%.
Staying with the year-to-year theme, Rio earned slightly less than another animated holdover, How to Train Your Dragon, did last Easter weekend. The real story with Rio continues to be the big bucks it is making in foreign territories. Rio has already taken in over $200 million overseas, putting it well ahead of The Green Hornet to become Hollywood’s biggest foreign release of 2011.
Tyler Perry’s Madea character made her first screen appearance just six years ago. I checked. Madea brought Tyler Perry his biggest box office success when she Went to Jail and 2009 and came out with $41 million after three days. But that was in 2009. This year the best Madea could do was an estimated $25.8 million from her 2,288 locations. Even Tyler Perry must feel the bite of 2011’s box office, I guess. But while many box office reports will note that Big Happy Family falls short of Perry’s highest debuts, it is also nowhere near his lowest. The fact that a “franchise” film (if we can consider Madea as such) in its fourth incarnation was almost able to top a G-rated, animated, 3D title on a holiday weekend should be indication enough that Tyler Perry’s mojo is still in place.
Water for Elephants, the adaptation of Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel, debuted at number three this weekend with an estimated $17.5 million from 2,817 locations. As a period romance that figure is relatively high – Australia earned just $14.8 million in its debut in 2008. In terms of recent ‘general’ romances, however, Elephants was in the middle of a pack led by Dear John, which brought in $30 million last February.
Disney’s specialty label DisneyNature launched African Cats this weekend, its third feature in as many years. With an estimate of $6.4 million from 1,220 locations, Cats came in behind 2009’s Earth ($8.8 million) and 2010’s Oceans ($6 million). And finally, Hop got a big boost over the Easter weekend, as expected. The toon took in an estimated $12.5 million, or an increase of 17% over last weekend. That makes Hop the third film of 2011 to spring past the $100 million mark after Rango and Just Go With It.
If you believe its TV ads, Fast Five is gonna make summer come early this year. Next weekend, to be precise. The fifth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise will be pretty much the only game in town which means that the box office may have to kiss that winning streak goodbye.