Moviegoers flocked to Rio but fled from Scream 4 over the weekend. Thanks to Rio and some decent holdovers, though, this was the first genuinely up weekend year-over-year since early November, boasting a nearly 11 percent increase over 2010, when Kick-Ass and How to Train Your Dragon led.
Rio led with an estimated $40 million on approximately 6,400 screens at 3,826 locations, and its 3D presentations at 2,591 locations accounted for 58 percent of the gross. The animated comedy edged out Rango's $38.1 million and Hop's $37.5 million to claim the highest-grossing opening weekend of 2011 so far. However, excelling in a slow year like 2011 is not the same as excelling in the grand scheme of things: Rio's start was fairly average for a wannabe animated event. It trailed How to Train Your Dragon's $43.7 million opening from last spring, and its attendance paled compared to Blue Sky's previous spring movies Ice Age, Robots and Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!. Distributor 20th Century Fox's exit polling indicated that 53 percent of Rio's audience was female and 50 percent was under 25 years old.
Evidently the Scream franchise was played out long ago, judging by the returns for Scream 4. The horror sequel notched an estimated $19.3 million on close to 4,400 screens at 3,305 locations, which was only slightly more than Sucker Punch's debut last month. That was a tremendous comedown from the previous Scream movies, and more extreme than the drop from Saw V to Saw VI in attendance. Scream 3 grossed $34.7 million in its first weekend back in Feb. 2000, or the equivalent of nearly $52 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. Scream 4's marketing aimed at those nostalgic for the original movies, self-consciously stating their appeal ("getting scared has never been so much fun"), but never went beyond being just another Scream movie, which may not have been enough after 11 years (particularly when Scream 2 and Scream 3 were less well-liked than the original). Distributor The Weinstein Company's research showed that 52 percent of Scream 4's audience was female and 54 percent was under 25 years old.
Hop ranked third with an estimated $11.2 million. The Easter bunny comedy dropped 48 percent, and it fell further behind Rango, tallying $82.6 million in 17 days or nearly $10 million less than Rango at the same point.
Soul Surfer held its ground better than the other second-weekend holdovers. The surfer girl drama dipped 30 percent, slotting in fourth with an estimated $7.4 million for a $20 million sum in ten days. Hanna fell a standard 41 percent to an estimated $7.3 million for a $23.3 million total in ten days, while Arthur (2011) tumbled 43 percent to an estimated $6.9 million for a $22.3 million tally in ten days. Your Highness was again the big loser, retreating 58 percent to an estimated $3.9 million for a $16 million sum in ten days.
The other horror movie in the market, Insidious, continued to hold exceptionally well in its third weekend. It again posted the smallest percentage decline among nationwide releases, easing 27 percent to an estimated $6.9 million for a $36 million total in 17 days. It actually has a chance at out-grossing Scream 4 in the long run, a thought that was seemingly inconceivable until now.
Close behind Insidious for best hold was Source Code, which slowed its rate of descent to 27 percent, making an estimated $6.3 million for a $37 million haul in 17 days. Down around 30 percent each were fifth-weekend holdovers Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer, and they boasted solid tallies of $69.7 million and $50.6 million, respectively.
The weekend's other technically nationwide new release, The Conspirator, mustered a decent amount of interest, earning an estimated $3.9 million at 707 locations, ranking ninth.