Easter Surprise: Robert Pattinson’s ‘Water for Elephants’ debuts to just $16.8 million

04.25.11 6 years ago 8 Comments

AP Photo/Pete Kramer

Studio weekend estimates always tend to be a bit off, but the three top films in the country this weekend ended up $500,000 or more lower than first reported. 

“Rio” suffered the least staying on top with $26.3 million compared to the $26.8 million announced Sunday.  The 20th Century Fox blockbuster has now grossed a superb $80.8 million in just 10 days domestically and a staggering $283.4 million worldwide.

“Madea’s Big Happy Family” ended up with $25.06 million which was a little under $800,000 off the $25.8 million figure Lionsgate revealed yesterday.  While certainly much less than the $41 million “Madea Goes To Jail” found two years ago, the film did have the highest per screen by far in the top 10 ($10,957) and the studio and Tyler Perry will hedge their bets that the films A- Cinemascore grade will result in a small decline next weekend.

Another film with an A- score was “Water for Elephants” which placed third with $16.8 million.  That’s $700,000 off the original estimate signaling that both Fox and Lionsgate clearly misread this year’s Easter Sunday moviegoing audience and that family gatherings ate into the business more than expected.  For star Robert Pattinson, this is his biggest non-“Twilight” opening so far.  Last year’s “Remember Me” was a huge disappointment debuting to only $8 million and grossing $19 million domestic.  Fox insists “Elephants” cost only $35 million after tax rebates, but most insiders believe the budget is much closer to $70 million plus.  The studio will have to hope older audiences embrace the picture over the next few weeks.  “Source Code” and “The Lincoln Lawyer” both had similar openings only to hit “$44.6 million (clearly on its way past $50 million) and $53 million so far respetively.  In fact, the news that “Lawyer” debuted to only $13 million and could easily hit $58 million (a very rare 4x multiple) has been grossly unreported.

This Friday’s openers include “Fast Five,” which has already grossed $24 million overseas, “Hoodwinked Too” and Disney’s “Prom.”

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