"Soul Surfer," Sony Corp.’s picture about a Hawaii surfer Bethany Hamilton, generated $7.4 million to remain in fourth place at the box office in its second weekend.
The movie, filmed on Kauai, is based on the real-life story of Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003 and returned to competitive surfing three months later.
"Soul Surfer generated $11.1 million in ticket sales during its debut weekend.
The animated comedy "Rio" was the top film in U.S. and Canadian theaters this past weekend, taking in $40 million in ticket sales for News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox studio.
The horror sequel "Scream 4" opened in second place with $19.3 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
The first-place debut for "Rio" marks the third straight weekend in which a PG-rated children’s film has been Hollywood’s top moneymaker. "Hop," an animated tale about a bunny who must save the Easter holiday, was first the previous two weeks.
"In the summer, and especially over the holiday months, family films do very well," said Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co. "But to have this many of those films do that well in the spring is quite uncommon. Even more uncommon is to really not have any huge hits from outside that family demographic."
"Rio," featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, had taken in $50.8 million in overseas markets before opening in the U.S. and Canada, according to Hollywood.com. In the film, a domesticated macaw travels from Minnesota to Rio de Janeiro to find a mate.
In "Scream 4," from Weinstein Co.’s Dimension Films, heroine Sidney Prescott returns to the town of Woodsboro only to be pursued once again by serial killer Ghostface. The first of the "Scream" films was released in 1996. The first three movies generated $507 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
"To take an 11-year break and still gross almost $20 million is still decent for horror," Bock said.
Third place’s "Hop" had sales of $11.2 million. The PG-rated film combining animation and live action was the first film from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures to lead the box office this year. It has had sales of $82.6 million in three weeks of release.
"Hanna," an action thriller from Universal’s Focus Features, fell to fifth place with $7.3 million. The movie features Saoirse Ronan as a teenager who’s trained to be a killer by her father, a former CIA agent, and sent on a mission. Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett co-star.
‘Madea’s Big Happy Family’
Receipts rose this past weekend from the year-ago period, making it the first "up" week after seven consecutive down weekends.
"That’s a good sign going into next week," Bock said. "Tyler Perry’s film is going to be huge, and then things look up from there, so it’s starting to feel a lot like summer right now."
"Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family," "African Cats" and "Water for Elephants" open in wide release this coming weekend.
Revenue for the top 12 films this past weekend rose 7.2 percent to $119.9 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office sales this year have declined 19.2 percent to $2.6 billion. Attendance is down 20.4 percent.