This weekend was a massive one for the angry birds with a gross of $26.8 million as kids flocked to theaters with their parents. With $81.3 million after just 10 days of release, Rio had a truly incredible Easter weekend as it tops the chart for the 2nd consecutive week with a 3-D enhanced revenue boost and a minimal 32% second weekend drop.
Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family with $25.75 million proves that Tyler Perry is one of the most consistently performing filmmakers on the planet. His films have generated over half a billion dollars in domestic revenue and the 10 feature films he has produced and directed since 2005 and have had an average opening weekend of $23.5 million. This 11th film shows that Madea is a hugely popular character and Perry’s films with her name in the title have been the most popular with audiences. An $11,254 per-theater average is the strongest in the Top 20 and clearly demonstrates the seat-filling draw of Madea.
Fox’s Water for Elephants starring Twilight’s Robert Pattinson is grabbed a third place debut with a better-than-expected gross of $17.5 million. Based on the best-selling novel by Sara Gruen, the film also stars Reese Witherspoon and Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz. The film has major female appeal and is likely to become a long term performer providing an alternative to the summer blockbuster fare that is on the horizon.
Universal’s Hop hops into its 4th weekend taking full advantage of kids having candy and the Easter Bunny on their minds. An Easter-boosted gross of $12.5 million saw the Russell Brand film jump 16% over last weekend and put Hop over the $100 million mark.
Rounding out the Top 5 is the horror mainstay Scream 4 from The Weinstein Co. with $7.1 million and a (typical for the horror genre) second weekend drop of 62%. The film has earned $31.1 million to date.
Opening just outside of the Top 5 with $6.4 million is Disney Nature’s African Cats. The documentary continues an Earth Day tradition as started with 2007’s Earth and 2010’s Oceans films. Oceans played in 1,206 theaters last year and posted a solid $6.1 million debut. These cats landed on their feet with a gross that is consistent with the typical performance of this series of nature documentaries.
This is the second consecutive up weekend at the box office vs. last year’s comparable frame which was a slow one with How to Train Your Dragon in its 5th weekend taking 1st place with $15.3 million and The Back-up Plan in 2nd place with just $12.2 million.
Weekend Box-Office Estimates
Top Movies - For Easter Weekend of April 22, 2011
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Rio (G) $26.8M $81.3M
2 Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family (PG-13) $25.75M $25.75M
3 Water for Elephants (PG-13) $17.5M $17.5M
4 Hop (PG) $12.5M $100.5M
5 Scream 4 (R) $7.15M $31.1M
Twilight star Robert Pattinson attempts again to diversify beyond the realm of teenage vampires but nonetheless remains safely in his romantic-melodrama wheelhouse in his new film Water for Elephants. Based on Sara Gruen’s depression-set 2006 chick-lit bestseller of the same name it sees him once again pursuing an epic love against which powerful forces are aligned. But on this occasion Pattinson’s greatest adversary may be his own lack of charisma.
Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski the sensitive and bright only child of Polish immigrant parents who have the unfortunate timing to die in a tragic car accident just as Jacob is about to take his final veterinary exam an exam that he informs us via voiceover he totally would have aced. In that same voiceover he also informs us that he was planning to deflower the girl sitting across from him – which when you think about it is sort of an odd thing to announce via voiceover.
Alas there is to be no acing or deflowering for poor Jacob. Penniless and grief-stricken he hops aboard the nearest train where he’s befriended by a loquacious drunken hobo and offered work with a traveling circus first as a manure-shoveler and then after impressing the circus’ owner and ringmaster August (Christoph Waltz) with his intuitive knowledge of equine anatomy as the resident veterinarian for the circus’ four-legged performers.
Complications arise for Jacob when he falls for the outfit’s star attraction the graceful and beguiling Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) whose signature act involves performing tricks astride majestic show horses. Romantic sparks first fly between them when Jacob seeing that Marlena’s best horse is injured and in pain decrees that it must be put down. They decide to do the grim deed together her singing a farewell lullaby to the steed while he puts a bullet in its head. Euthanized horses being a well-known aphrodisiac their mutual attraction is cemented on the spot. It blossoms further with the arrival of an unruly elephant Rosie that they are together tasked with grooming for big-top stardom.
Unfortunately Marlena already belongs to someone else: her husband August. “Belong” is the operative word here. Clearly bipolar and quite possibly homicidal August rules the circus through a mixture of charm – a brusque teutonic variety of charm – and violent intimidation. It’s also how he approaches marriage. Marlena would like to leave her mercurial husband but fears losing her livelihood – and perhaps her life – if she runs off with Jacob.
Water for Elephants is directed by Francis Lawrence – that same Francis Lawrence of such classic cinematic love stories as I Am Legend and Constantine – who successfully infuses the film with a grand old-fashioned quality without resorting to Nick Sparks-level sentiment. (Though he does take care to pile on various estro-centric tropes – scenes of cute suffering animals; RPattz coming to the aid of said cute suffering animals; wistful opening and closing narration by an adorably cantankerous old man; etc.) His main problem seems to be his leading man Pattinson who at least in this early stage in his career doesn’t have the screen presence to hang with Oscar-winning co-stars Witherspoon and Waltz. As a result a film that aims for epic is for the most part inert ambling along slowly for the better part of two hours before collapsing upon itself in a brief gloriously overwrought finale.
The Twilight heart-throb is set to star alongside Hollywood beauty Reese Witherspoon in Water for Elephants, based on the historical novel by Sara Gruen.
The period movie will be filmed in Los Angeles and film bosses have listed an online advert asking for "Caucasian men with very 1930s looking period faces," "African American men with short 1930s period haircuts" and "Caucasian women with shoulder length hair or shorter, size 6 or smaller"
The post on listings website Craigslist also specifies applicants should have "no piercings, tattoos, no breast implants, no artificial nails, no highlighted or coloured hair".
The casting call will be held on 17 April (10) in L.A. and the movie is due for release in 2011.