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Scream 4

Dimension Films

The big question going into the box-office weekend was whether the Scream franchise still had lungs.

The answer was sorta—and sorta not.

RELATED: How Scream 4 keeps its top-secret ending secret 

Scream 4 debuted in second place in the standings with an estimated $19.3 million.

The start should be big enough to make good on the film's $40 million budget. But it wasn't big enough to convince that the Courteney Cox and David Arquette series was back.    

"That [opening-weekend] number is below everyone's expectations," BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino said in an email. "Resurrecting a franchise is a tricky thing to do, and I think this proves that you can never take a fan base for granted."

Scream 4 arrived 11 years after Scream 3 scored a No. 1 box-office finish with a $34.7 million weekend.

This weekend, the animated Rio, as expected, was in the top spot. The film's $40 million opening is as blockbuster as Hollywood has gotten lately, with Rio edging past Rango for the biggest Friday-Sunday of the year. 

It is overseas, however, where Rio is really impressing. Worldwide, the reputedly $90 million talking-animal comedy has already grossed $168 million by Variety's count.

Elsewhere, Robert Redford's 1865-style JFK, The Conspirator, snuck into the Top 10, selling about as many tickets at its 707 theaters as Scream 4 at its 3,305. The Tea Party-courting Atlas Shrugged: Part I did even better, screen for screen, grossing $1.7 million at 299 self-determined locations.

Overall, the box office was up over the same weekend last year. So maybe Scream 4 did help save Hollywood, after all.

Here's a complete rundown of the top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday numbers as compiled by Exhibitor Relations.

  1. Rio, $40 million
  2. Scream 4, $19.3 million
  3. Hop, $11.2 million
  4. Soul Surfer, $7.4 million
  5. Hanna, $7.3 million
  6. Arthur, $6.9 million
  7. Insidious, $6.86 million
  8. Source Code, $6.3 million
  9. The Conspirator, $3.9 million
  10. Your Highness, $3.89 million