The Reject ReportIt’s a time for celebration in the world of animated film. Maybe not dress-up-in-your-favorite-gold-costume-or-mask celebration. We’re not throwing a lavish parade or anything, but an audible “hip hip hooray” might be in order if you’re a fan of computer animation. Rio, the latest such film from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox, came out wings blazing this weekend and easily topped the box office with the biggest opening so far in 2011. The $40 million the film brought in isn’t a record for the studio, though. It didn’t even top the $45 million Horton Hears a Who brought the studio in 2008. However, given Rio‘s worldwide box office thus far – $128.2 million in additional revenue outside the US – the film is well on its way to being a huge success. Plenty of money for the company to bring us another Ice Age film, so all you Scrat fans out there can rejoice.

Maybe not so much for fans of Scream. Scream 4 was met with mixed reviews, some calling it the best of the series while others are adamant it’s the worst. I’m not sure how much opposing opinions effected the weekend take. Maybe the 11-year hiatus didn’t generate enough interest in the franchise. Whatever the case may be, Scream 4 didn’t live up to the expectations Scream 2 and Scream 3 built for it with their $30-million+ openings. This isn’t to say the franchise has been called, stalked, or killed. With a reported budget of $40 million – the same as Scream 3 – it could recoup. It’s certainly a bigger opening than any film Wes Craven had outside the franchise.

A shocker this weekend was found in The Conspirator, Robert Redford’s latest directorial effort about the Lincoln assassination and the ensuing trial. Opening on just 707 screens, it was able to generate enough per screen average to debut in the #9 spot. No telling though what this means for The American Film Company, whose goal was to bring these historical dramas to cinematic life. The Conspirator cost around $25 million, so its chances of breaking even in theaters are pretty slim. Regardless, it’s an impressive feat for a film that debuted on less than 1000 screens, and an expansion could be in its future.

It was also an impressive weekend for 2nd or 3rd week drops with Soul Surfer, Insidious, and Source Code each dropping around 30% or less. Soul Surfer was able to hang on better than any of the other films released last weekend, while Insidious and Source Code continue to prove longevity in their third week of release.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Rio – $40m NEW
  2. Scream 4 – $19.2m NEW
  3. Hop – $11.1m (-47.6%) $82.6m total
  4. Soul Surfer – $7.4m (-30.2%) $19.9m total
  5. Hanna – $7.3m (-40.8%) $23.3m total
  6. Arthur – $6.9m (-43.2%) $22.3m total
  7. Insidious – $6.8m (-26.8%) $35.9m total
  8. Source Code – $6.3m (-27.2%) $36.9m total
  9. The Conspirator – $3.9m NEW
  10. Your Highness –  $3.8m (-58.4%) $15.9m total

Rio‘s $40-million take helped the overall box office tremendously in bringing its total take to $112.7 million. That’s only counting the top 10, as well. Six other films brought in $1 million to the table this weekend with three of those – Atlas Shrugged, Win Win, and Jane Eyre – playing on less than 400 screens apiece. All in all a solid weekend for the box office despite varying cries of “slump” from industry analysts.

We may hear that word again next weekend, as the three new films in wide release won’t be creating a perfect storm of box office cash. African Cats from Disney, Madea’s Big Happy Family, and Water For Elephants are the films on the docket. None of them will likely best Rio’s 2nd weekend take, and the overall numbers are expected to be back down.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.


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