Rio Movie 2011

Each time Hollywood appears ready to break out of its 2011 slump, it doesn’t. Many in the industry were predicting this week’s Rio and Scream 4 to really shake up the box office, but while the former performed better than the latter, both movies fell a bit short of expectations. Fox’s tropical bird adventure Rio snatched first place with $10.2 million on Friday, according to early estimates. The $90 million 3-D animated film, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the world’s last pair of blue macaws, should benefit from a large family-audience spike on Saturday and finish the weekend with around $37 million. The G-rated movie still has a shot at topping the year’s best opening (Rango with $38.1 million), but right now it looks like it’ll just miss that figure. However, Rio earned a solid “A” from CinemaScore audiences, so word of mouth could push the film’s tally a bit higher.

After an 11-year absence, Ghostface returned to the silver screen but could only muster a middling second-place finish. Dimension Films’ Scream 4 performed well below industry expectations, slashing just $8 million on Friday. That puts the R-rated horror flick on track for a $19 million (or possibly $20 million) opening — far below the debuts of Scream 2 ($32.9 million) and Scream 3 ($34.7 million). CinemaScore moviegoers gave the $40 million picture a “B-” rating.

In third, Insidious continued to hold up particularly well for a horror film, especially considering its new competition this weekend. The PG-13 film dropped only 29 percent for $2.33 million. Produced for just $1 million, the FilmDistrict release should add $7 million this weekend, pushing its cumulative total to about $36 million. Right behind Insidious was the Easter Bunny comedy Hop, which slid 59 percent for $2.29 million. Thanks to an expected Saturday boost from family audiences, the PG movie should pass Insidious and finish the weekend in third with around $9 million.

Three other holdovers virtually tied for fifth place: the assassin thriller Hanna ($2.14 million), the surfing biopic Soul Surfer ($2.13 million), and the comedy remake Arthur ($2.12 million). All three movies are headed for weekend results of about $7 million. In semi-limited release, Robert Redford’s historical drama The Conspirator earned a decent $1.1 million on Friday from 707 theaters. And from an objective standpoint, the Ayn Rand adaptation Atlas Shrugged: Part I grossed $683,000 from 300 locations. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. Rio — $10.2 mil

2. Scream 4 — $8.0 mil

3. Insidious — $2.33 mil

4. Hop — $2.29 mil

5. Hanna — $2.14 mil

6. Soul Surfer — $2.13 mil

7. Arthur — $2.12 mil