‘Rio’ Continues To Dance At #1 Over Holiday Weekend

'Madea's Big Happy Family,' 'Water for Elephants' can't shake animated flick from the top of the box office.

The box office got a boost from kids over the holiday weekend as “Rio” held on to the top spot with moviegoers and the Easter-themed “Hop” crossed the $100 million mark, according to studio estimates. Overall ticket sales were up 39 percent from the same period last year. Strengthened by 3-D showings, the animated “Rio” earned $26.8 million for a two-week domestic total of $81.2 million.

Filmmaker Tyler Perry has released three movies around Easter, and this year’s entry, “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” sat right in the middle of his scorecard, with a $25.7 million debut (“Meet the Browns” opened with $20.1 million in 2008; “Why Did I Get Married Too?” made $29.3 million last year). But it suffered the lowest debut of any of the entries in his poorly reviewed “Madea” series. Still, that was good enough to take the #2 spot for the weekend.

Robert Pattinson did double the business of his last non-”Twilight” starring role with “Water for Elephants,” which debuted with $17.5 million to land at #3 on the box-office tally. Of course, last year’s “Remember Me” didn’t have Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz or best-selling source material from novelist Sara Gruen. The romantic drama opened on par with the similarly themed “The Notebook,” adjusted for inflation. “Elephants” has split critics almost down the middle, according to movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.

“Hop” jumped 16 percent from last weekend (it is, after all, about the Easter Bunny) with $12.4 million to land at number four. The live-action/animation hybrid has made $100.5 million in four weeks and joined Adam Sandler’s “Just Go With It” ($102.6 million) and the year’s top-grossing movie “Rango” ($119.5), on the very short list of movies to have earned over $100 million in 2011 thus far.

All of the prior entries in the “Scream” franchise grossed over $100 million or close to it (“Scream 3″ made $89.1 million in 2000), but “Scream 4″ won’t come anywhere close to that mark. The self-referential horror sequel dropped 57 percent in its second weekend of release, earning $7.1 million to land at #5 on the chart with $31.1 million total. Meanwhile, the little $1.5 million horror movie “Insidious” from “Saw” director James Wan has made $44.1 million in four weeks.

Next week’s new releases include “Fast Five” (currently the best-reviewed of the action franchise); the animated “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil”; Disney’s tween-friendly “Prom”; comic-book-based “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night,” starring former “Superman” Brandon Routh; and actor Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, “Sympathy for Delicious.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Rio” and “Water for Elephants.”

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