Easter moviegoers flock to bird cartoon "Rio"

Reuters News
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Posted: May 04, 2011 10:04 AM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Brazilian bird adventure "Rio" led the Easter box office in North America for a second weekend, fending off the debuts of Tyler Perry's latest Madea comedy and Reese Witherspoon's romantic outing with Robert Pattinson.

According to studio estimates issued Sunday, "Rio" sold an estimated $26.8 million worth of tickets across the United States and Canada during the three days beginning April 22. After 10 days, the animated hit has earned $81.3 million.

"Madea's Big Happy Family" opened close behind with $25.8 million, in line with expectations but falling short of actor/director/writer Perry's previous films about the brassy black woman. "Madea Goes to Jail" opened to $41 million in 2009, and "Madea's Family Reunion" to $30 million in 2006.

"Water for Elephants" came in at No. 3 with $17.5 million, also in line with expectations. The period drama, based on Sara Gruen's best-selling book, stars Witherspoon as a Depression-era circus performer and "Twilight" hunk Pattinson as her forbidden lover.

The Easter Bunny live-action/animated hybrid "Hop" slipped one place to No. 4 with $12.5 million in its fourth weekend; its total rose to $100.5 million.

The horror sequel "Scream 4" tumbled three to No. 5 with $7.2 million in its second weekend; the 10-day tally rose to $31.2 million -- still short of the opening-weekend tallies of either "Scream 3" or "Scream 2."

"Rio" was distributed by 20th Century Fox, and "Water for Elephants" by Fox Searchlight. Both are units of News Corp. "Madea's Big Happy Family" was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

"Hop" was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp-controlled NBC Universal. "Scream 4" was released by Dimension Films, a unit of the closely held Weinstein Co.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jackie Frank)