20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
So far, so good.
The $40 million romantic drama, based on Sara Gruen's no-clowing-around novel of circus life in the 1930s, debuted with an estimated $17.5 million. The Friday-Sunday take was a bit bigger than expected for the film—and for the genre.
"Adult films usually don't sprint out of the gate. We did," Fox exec Bert Livingston told us in an email today. "I think being on bestseller list twice helped."
For Pattinson, the opening marks a step up from his last non-Twilight movie, Remember Me, which opened to $8.1 million last year.
Water for Elephants' performance probably comes as a greater relief to Witherspoon, whose How Do You Know was one of 2010's biggest bombs. That $120 million comedy-drama grossed less than $50 million worldwide.
For Tyler Perry, the result was not unexpected—and not bad, either—but still surprising. This is his "smallest"-opening Madea movie since the multihyphenate's 2005 breakthrough, Diary of a Mad Black Woman ($22 million), and a steep comedown from 2009's Madea Goes to Jail ($41 million).
Elsewhere, Easter weekend did right by Hop as the animated bunny comedy crossed the $100 million mark domestically. It did right by Hollywood, too, which saw ticket sales perk up—way up—over last year.
Scream 4 didn't get in on the fun, with business down a scary 62 percent from last weekend.
It was also an unhappy holiday for Natalie Portman and James Franco's Your Highness. The $50 million comedy dropped out of the Top 10 after just two weekends and just $20 million overall domestically.
Russell Brand's Arthur is in the same sad state. The $40 million comedy remake is out on its rear after grossing less than $30 million and making few forget the Dudley Moore original.
Here's a complete rundown of the top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday numbers as compiled by Exhibitor Relations.