Watch the birdies.
The birds of 'Rio' continued to feather their nest this weekend, holding on to the top spot at the box office for the second straight week with an estimated $26.8 million. Not flying quite so high was 'Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family,' which had been expected to soar to No. 1 but had to settle for opening in second place with an estimated $25.8 million.
'Rio' held up remarkably well, losing just 32 percent of last week's business; $26.8 million is a figure most movies would kill for during their first weekend. In ten days, the cartoon has racked up $81.3 million. Since it should continue to hold up over the next couple of weekends, in the absence of much family-friendly competition, 'Rio' could end up one of the biggest hits of the year.
Tyler Perry's sixth movie featuring him performing in drag as gun-toting granny Madea had been expected to open between $30 and $34 million. After all, the last movie with "Madea" in the title (2009's 'Madea Goes to Jail') debuted with a whopping $41 million, albeit on a less crowded weekend. While 'Big Happy Family' premiered with an impressive per-screen average ($11,254 per venue, more than that of any other wide-release movie this week), its weekend total was more in line with Perry's average opening of $23.7 million over his last nine movies. Perry's popularity may not be slipping, but it seems he can no longer guarantee a $30 million-plus opening just by putting Madea's name in the title.