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Posted at 08:25 AM ET, 04/25/2011

Weekend box office: America likes animated birds more than Tyler Perry and Reese Witherspoon

Tyler’s Perry’s Madea didn’t sell as many tickets as usual, Reese
Madea is not happy about losing the top box office spot to a cartoon. (Quantrell D.Colbert - AP)
Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson didn’t quite seduce American audiences and moviegoers still love animated birds and bunnies.

Those are just some of the things the weekend box office results have taught us. More lessons learned from your ticket-buying tendencies — tendencies that made “Rio” the No. 1 movie for the second week in a row — follow, along with a rundown of the top five films and a poll that allows you to predict next weekend’s winner.

Madea still has pull but perhaps not as much as she used to?:Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family” had a decent opening, landing in second place with $25.75 million in its first weekend, based on studio projections. When final numbers are released today, that total could shift and put the latest Perry venture even closer behind “Rio,” which made $26.8 million. But while that figure places the movie in the middle of Perry’s pack of money-makers, it’s the weakest opening thus far for a movie with Madea — the sassy grandmother played by Perry in drag — in the title. Both “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion,” which opened in 2006 with $30 million, and “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail,” which debuted in 2009 with $41 million and went on to gross $90 million, opened stronger. Perhaps these revenue distinctions are meaningless. Or perhaps they indicate that some Perry fans are growing fatigued of the excessive use of apostrophes in movie titles. Hard to say, really.

Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson can’t pull in the “Twilight” crowd: Their well-publicized adaptation of the best-seller “Water for Elephants” earned a decent but far from mind-blowing $17.5 million, putting it in third place. According to Box Office Mojo, 70 percent of the film’s primarily female audience was 25 or older, which suggests that all those women who read “Water for Elephants” in their book clubs may have been more interested in this film than the young girls who plaster pin-ups of Pattinson on their bedroom walls.

Animals remain popular, in cartoon form: As mentioned earlier, “Rio” — the animated ad­ven­ture in which Jesse Eisenberg provides the voice of a macaw — remained on top. And “Hop,” which had sat at No. 1 for the two weeks prior to that, saw a slight bump in business, no doubt caused by all the Easter weekend interest in bunnies. “Hop” made another $12.4 million over the weekend, pushing its total beyond the $100 million mark. It’s the third movie so far this year to earn more than $100 million; “Rango” and “Just Go With It” are the other two.

As for another family-oriented film featuring animals, Disney’s “African Cats” earned $6.4 million and landed in sixth place, although it played on fewer screens than any other film in the top 10. If it had been more widely distributed and, perhaps, animated, maybe the studio would have made more cash. But then an animated “African Cats” is basically “The Lion King,” isn’t it?

Scream 4” still can’t catch fire: The horror sequel fell to fifth place with $7.1 million, and a total box office intake so far of $31.1 million. Its business fell by 61.7 percent, the steepest drop for any of the movies in the top 10. The possibility of a “Scream 5” just got much more remote.

Now, to recap, the top five movies at the weekend box office were:

1. “Rio” — $26.8 million

2. “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family” — $25.7 million

3. “Water for Elephants” — $17.5 million

4. “Hop” — $12.4 million

5. “Scream 4” — $7.1 million

And here’s your opportunity to predict which movie will top next weekend’s box office:

By  |  08:25 AM ET, 04/25/2011

Categories:  Movies | Tags:  Weekend Box Office

 
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