Friday Box Office: 'Rio' Takes No. 1 Spot With $10.8 Mil

Twentieth Century Fox

UPDATED: "Madea's Big Happy Family" is a close second with $10.5 million; Reese Witherspoon-Robert Pattinson circus romance "Water for Elephants" scores $7 million.

Twentieth Century Fox's 3D toon Rio continues to rule the roost, grossing an estimated $10.8 million on Friday to top the domestic box office -- up 4% from a week ago, thanks to hordes of kids being out of school for Easter.

Rio, ending Friday with a domestic cume of $65.2 million, is on track to win the weekend with a gross of $27 million, give or take. Because of Easter Sunday, Friday and Saturday will be the biggest days at the multiplex.

Lionsgate's latest Tyler Perry offering -- Madea's Big Happy Family -- got off to a solid start, grossing an estimated $10.5 million from 2,288 locations to come in No. 2. Madea is likely to make $24 million to $25 million for the weekend.

Fox scored a second win on Friday with period circus romance Water for Elephants, which got off to a better than expected start in grossing an estimated $7 million from 2,817 theaters. Based on Sara Gruen's bestselling book and directed by Francis Lawrence, the Fox 2000 film stars Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz.

Water for Elephants, coming in No. 3 on Friday, is now expected to open in the $17 million to $18 million range. The movie is being driven by adult females, who made up 70% of the audience on Friday.

Placing No. 4 was Universal's Easter bunny hit Hop, which is expected to hit $100 million by the end of the weekend. Hop grossed $4.9 million on Friday for a cume of $92.9 million. The family film was up a whopping 107% from the previous Friday.

Disneynature's latest Earth Day documentary African Cats came in No. 5, grossing an estimated $3.3 million in a solid start.

What really had Hollywood buzzing was the fact that all three new films drew great CinemaScores. Madea earned an A; Water for Elephants and African Cats, each logged an A-.

Among holdovers, Dimension Films' Scream 4 came in No. 6 on its second Friday, grossing $2.8 million for a cume of $26.8 million.

TriStar and FilmDistrict's Soul Surfer, FilmDistrict's Insidious and Focus Features' Hanna all continued to hold well, with the micro-budgeted Insidious jumping the $40 million mark.












Good Friday turned out to be an excellent day for 20th Century Fox, with 3D toon Rio continuing to soar and period circus romance Water for Elephants off to a better-than-expected start.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Lionsgate turned in a solid performance with Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family. (See how Fast Five and Thor are faring in the international box office.)

Madea earned an A CinemaScore; Elephants, an A-.

Thanks to hordes of kids being out of school for the Easter holiday, Rio grossed an estimated $10.5 million to $11 million — ahead of the $10.4 million it earned last Friday, its opening day. The 3D toon is on track to win the weeekend, with a projected gross of at least $27 million.

Madea came in No. 2 for the day behind Rio, grossing an estimated $10 million. The sixth installment in the Tyler Perry franchise has a good shot at grossing $25 million for the weekend, in line with Lionsgate’s expectations.

Fox 2000’s Water for Elephants — starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz—was the big surprise of the day, opening north of $7 million.

Heading into the weekend, Fox 2000’s Water for Elephants was projected to post an opening weekend gross of between $13 million to $15 million. But in light of Friday’s take, the period drama should open higher, and possibly $18 million.

Water, based on the bestselling book by Sara Gruen, has been gaining momentum in recent days, particularly among younger females, and has every chance now of doing more business. The film’s strongest demo, according to tracking, is older women.

Universal’s Hop also was having a great Friday, thanks to so many kids being out of school for spring break and Easter weekend. The CGI/live-action hybrid, directed by Tim Hill, looked to gross roughly $4.8 for the day to come in No. 4. The family film should jump the $100 million mark by Sunday.

Disney’s documentary African Cats, released in celebration of Earth Day, came in a pleasing No. 5, grossing north of $3 million. The film debuted in more than 1,000 theaters.

Good Friday is turning out to be excellent for the movie business, with Rio continuing to soar and new entry Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family off to a solid start.