Your Box Office Explained: Rio Holds Off Tyler Perry


This Weekend’s Winners: Rio, which lost barely a third of its audience, grossing a little less than $27 million. Likewise, Madea’s Big Happy Family, with a little less than $26 million.

This Weekend’s Loser: Scream 4, which hemorrhaged almost two thirds of its audience — the most precipitous drop in the history of the franchise — to gross a little more than $7 million.

How It All Went Down: No surprise Rio won the weekend — powerered, as it was, by the untold thousands of sugar-addled kiddos burning off their Cadbury Creme Eggs by kicking the seatbacks of those in front of them. No, the more interesting battle was for the middle.

While directors Spike Lee and Tyler Perry may be at odds over whether Madea is good, bad, both or neither for the souls of black folk, the box office seemed unfazed: As usual for a Perry outing, Madea’s Big Happy Family was overwhelmingly embraced by older, black women (its audience was 72 percent female, 69 percent over the age of 25, and 81 percent black), producing middling returns for the draggy director’s umpteenth outing.

So, too, Water for Elephants, with a modest $17.5 million. The paean to Robert Pattinson’s hair only nominally stars Reese Witherspoon, but her above-the-title perch meant that it, too, skewed both older and female: Fox's own research found more than two thirds (70 percent) of the Elephant-ine crowds were both female and over the age of 25.

Finally, that other holiday, Earth Day, was celebrated this past weekend by Disney via African Cats, a nature film that clawed back almost $6.5 million. Disappointingly, though narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, its G-rating meant no one got to hear a frustrated Jackson screaming, “I have had it with these motherfucking cats on this motherfucking plain!"