‘Big Happy Family’ beat ‘Water for Elephants,’ what will Reese and Sparkles do?


For a second consecutive week and by a rather narrow margin, Rio claimed the top spot in this weekend’s box-office race with an estimated $26.8 million. Taking second place was Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family ($25.8 million) and a distant third was captured by Water for Elephants ($17.5 million). Further down the line, Hop held onto fourth place with Scream 4 falling into fifth position. The main tussle, of course, was between the two debuting wide release pics, Big Happy Family and Water for Elephants that took second and third. The placement of these two new movies is rather deceptive, however, when one considers the inherent expectations involved with the so-called star attractions involved in each respective film.

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.

Debuting in third place was Water for Elephants, with an estimated $17.5 million. That’s a tad higher than expected for the Robert Pattinson-Reese Witherspoon romance. It’s also a very good number for a Pattinson movie that doesn’t involve vampires. And it should continue to be a hit over the next few weeks, as there’ll be little prestige-drama fare or romantic movies targeted at women as we transition into the summer popcorn season.

[From Moviefone]

So between Big Happy Family and Water for Elephants, the former might very well have sold the greater number of tickets, but it fell far below predictions, especially for a Madea film. Like Kaiser, I too have been warming up to Tyler Perry over the years, but you can bet that when Spike Lee heard this news (probably while sitting in the VIP section at a basketball game) crapped his pants with glee while prematurely declaring the demise of Tyler Perry’s career. Oh suck it, Spike.

Meanwhile, the Sparklepants vehicle actually exceeded studio expectations (in the mid-teens) for opening weekend, and far surpassed that of Box Office Mojo’s derby game, which predicted that Water for Elephants would bring in a mere $13 million. Considering that Reese Witherspoon’s How Do You Know? only pulled in $7.4 million in last December’s debut; and Robert Pattinson’s last non-Twilight effort, Remember Me, only captured $8 million during its opening weekend, Water for Elephants did pretty well considering the circumstances (and for what it’s worth, I thought it was a good movie, and Christoph Waltz was superb). Of course, the movie didn’t do nearly well enough to justify Reese pimping her wedding photos, so she’s probably at home continuing to mourn the loss of her privacy as we speak.





Movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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24 Responses to “‘Big Happy Family’ beat ‘Water for Elephants,’ what will Reese and Sparkles do?”

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  1. Marianne says:

    Water for Elephants was really good. And Rpattz acts so much better than what you see in the Twilight films.

  2. tracking says:

    WfE could have legs, we’ll see. Though the reviews of Pattinson’s performance have been pretty brutal.

  3. Marjalane says:

    My daughter and her friends went, said the movie was awful, but wouldn’t miss an opportunity to see Sparkles in anything. I have a feeling thats where they’ll get their big numbers.

  4. kelbear says:

    Every time I logged on facebook this weekend I kept seeing my friends saying that they thought the movie was great. I saw Reese talk about the movie on Ellen and now I really want to see it. And btw, I saw Scream 4 this weekend because I am a huge fan of the Scream movies and I actually really liked it despite all the “it was dumb” remarks.

  5. lisa says:

    I didn’t see the film and don’t plan to. But that being said, 17+ million was a OK showing, considering that both their last films were not BO successes. Reese needed this to do big numbers, and so did Rob. He has to prove that he can bring in numbers outside the Twilight films. These numbers prove a few truths. Reese isn’t a big BO draw anymore.. regardless of how much PR she does, and the majority of the Twilight fans seem to only want Rob as Edward. That is going to be his albatross. While those films made him rich and famous, they also seem to hold him back. Which is a bit said. It is almost like the difficulty TV Stars have when they want to make that movie jump. Plus Males don’t go to see his films. He needs to do something to get a male audience.

    Next week Fast Five opens and PROM (which is on point since Prom season is about to start). So next week we will see how it holds. The final numbers will tell all. I just don’t see it doing that great in the end. But maybe word of mouth will help it.

  6. Eh, I don’t want to see WFE. Not just because it’s getting mediocre reviews and RPatz is a bad actor, but because the book didn’t really do it for me.

    I’ve actually never seen a Tyler Perry movie. I do kind of want to see Scream 4, though. *Sigh* There’s just nothing that appealing out right now.

  7. Samigirl says:

    I think this was a really bad weekend to release the movie. You’ve got all these people who didn’t have to work Friday, schools and daycares are closed, etc…they do what I did. Take your children to a movie. I took my son to the matinee showing of Rio and the theatre was absolutely packed…and we were early! I will see Water for Elephants, as I love the book, but this weekend was more of a kid friendly weekend, definitely.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I saw WfE and really liked it, thought it was very good.
    The big difference between that and Reese’s last film? WfE cost $38 million to make (surprisingly low for what it is), and the one that bombed cost $100 million – which I still can’t figure out how. I think WfE will end up turning a nice profit.

  9. Beth says:

    I thought it was great!

  10. pamerie says:

    Most reviews I have seen were pretty positive. I will take my granddaughter to see this on “the word of mouth” discussions I’ve heard.

  11. rtms says:

    Tyler Perry’s movies always do well the first weekend and then dive bomb by the second so I wouldn’t worry about it. The bigger question is if WFE has legs enough to keep up the performance.If it drops big time then it will be considered a flop as well.

  12. mia girl says:

    Agree with @Bedhead, Christoph Waltz was a real treat to watch!! I saw the movie on Friday and we were three generations of women (80, 43, 16 & 13) together on a family movie day. All of us really enjoyed the movie for similar and yet different reasons.

    I really recommend it. It has a classic Hollywood feel. Turns out I’ll be seeing it again with my girlfriends on movie night this week. Their pick… so maybe the movie will have legs.

  13. hairball says:

    I’m probably seeing WFE tonight. I hope RPatz can pull it off.

  14. Tia C says:

    I can’t think of too many pairings that sound more boring than Reese “look at my cute little pointy chin” Witherspoon & friggin Sparkles McTwilight. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Evidently I’m not alone.

  15. sassy says:

    Again, I request: Christoph Waltz for HGF!!! Please??? I ain’t the only one!

  16. emma says:

    Water for Elephants was great! I can’t wait to see it again. Reese did not need to pimp out her photos for this. It’s a good movie.

  17. Louise says:

    I find it bizarre that all of the sites ar calling Tyler’s film a failure and WFE a huge success. BHF made more in less theatres than WFE and these movies always open in $25 million range. Also WFE was heavily promoted with interviews, articles, ect and had a couple of big names. Whereas BHF had a few mentions on the entertainment shows and some commercials. It will be interesting to see if WFE has legs but I could see it making just $60 million. BHF will probably make the same amount but the Madea movies usually have a budget of just $10 million.

  18. Sue says:

    With “Fast Five” coming out this weekend it’s most likely going to take the number 1 spot with “Rio” or “Big Happy Family” in second place WFE will probably come in 4th or 5th. WFE will most likely break even or make a little over when and if it goes worldwide but when you add in all the over advertising while lose some in the end.

  19. @Lousie. I agree, I’ve heard the same thing about BHF and WFE, and I’ve seen the number of theatres each were released in, and not to mention the fact that WFE has been in our faces for awhile, yet it started and remained in third place all weekend. I don’t call that a success, and I don’t call BHF a failure.

  20. Sue says:

    I just check out Box Office Mojo and their reporting as of Sunday 24 that WFE made 16,842,353million and not 17.5 million and it was release worldwide on April 15 and in the 5 countries it showed In so far it seconded week only made 2,600,000 a total of $19,442,353 a drop of -6.3% since Saturday in the U.S.

  21. hairball says:

    Saw WFE tonight. Was disappointed.

    1. Christoph Waltz was outstanding

    2. Robert Pattinson (I soo want the guy to succeed) needs to work on his acting. He does the quiet, somber/passive expression too much or else he does the awkward grimace too much. I thought he had very good moments in Remember Me, in WFE, he had some good moments and showed some promise, but overall, I thought his acting was awkward.

    3. Not very good chemistry between Reese and Robert Pattinson. He came across too much like a lost little boy.

    4. Characters and plot were not developed well enough. It was sort of rushed through and not developed and flushed out fully with more scenes and inferences of what was going on. More scenes should have been added to develop the story instead it seemed the movie moved from main action to main action without developing enough between these turning points in the story. It was way too rushed and shallow.

    5. Robert Pattinson does a great American accent.

    Bottom line: Disappointed. Robert Pattinson I think has potential, but he really needs to work on more natural/subtle reaction shots and not the awkward grimace/passive, blank stare at the floor response. I think he has potential but needs constructive criticism.

    He’s very nice to look at that is for sure, but though at times he looked fugly with his teeth.

  22. hairball says:

    Forgot to mention that the elephant was SO good and an outstanding character – very touching. Robert Pattinson did a good job in his scenes with her.

  23. mia girl says:

    I looked at the Box Office Mojo info you cited and the finals were lower. But on the 5 market int’l thing, to be fair, Water for Elephants has only opened “Internationally” in Lithuania, Norway, South Africa, Sweden & Turkey. I think it rolls out to big markets this weekend.

    Also, the 6.3% drop you mentioned does not seem so bad compared to the other top movies… Maddea had a 13% drop and Rio had a 7.5% drop.

    Once I see citing of facts and figures, I am a numbers geek and can’t resist digging in. :)

  24. loop says:

    I saw Big Happy Family – thanks for the hour long laugh mr. perry.

    WFE is a DVD movie for me. Long, slow dramas where i might need captions are DVD movies for me.