The box office results for the Easter weekend has Rio barely holding off Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Happy Family. Meanwhile, Scream 4 is dying quickly and Hop receives a holiday boost. Here are the studio estimates:

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)

6. African Cats ($6.4 million)

7. Soul Surfer ($5.6 million)

8. Insidious ($5.3 million)

9. Hanna ($5.2 million)

10. Source Code ($5 million)

Analysis

The holiday weekend saw theater crowds increase, giving each film in the top ten a slight jolt. Well, everyone except Scream 4. Dropping 62% suggests that this latest installment in the groundbreaking franchise, is only registering with its core fan base. The casual viewer is clearly not interested this time around and the flick will be relying heavily on a DVD and On-Demand run in its quest for profits. One has to wonder if this puts future sequels in jeopardy.

A new release that was not mentioned above is Water for Elephants. Based on the popular novel, the 20th Century Fox piece is off to a decent start in trying to recoup the $40 million spent to make this drama. With the book’s popularity, along with star Robert Pattinson’s rabid Twilight following, this should be able to hang around the top ten for about a month. Although, the Summer movie season may have something to say about that.

African Cats opened up right on par with the rest of Disneynature’s annual products. The documentary isn’t going to wow with box office numbers, but it will achieve its goal in raising awareness with regards to the lands referenced in the film.

Since we seem to do this every year, Tyler Perry’s latest – Madea’s Big Happy Family – opened up very well once again. The flick rang up the usual $25 million production budget. Only aspect to note here is that this installment is following the trend of seeing each opening weekend gross drop from the previous year.

Flop Alert: Scream 4. Even though it will make a profit eventually, this was forecasted to gross around $80 million at theaters. And this isn’t going to happen.

Sleeper Hit: Rio. Grossing over $100 million domestically (which it will by next week) isn’t a surprise. However, already grossing over $144 million overseas is. No one forecasted Rio being on pace to eclipse $300 million worldwide. In a couple weeks, this animated adventure could achieve that feat.

This Friday’s releases will attempt to bring in laughs, frights, action and heart. Fast Five and the animated Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil should lead the pack. Disney’s Prom and the horror/comedy from Omni Lab/Freestlye Releasing, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, will be bringing up the rear. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

Rising above the competition

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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