RioFROM MTV MOVIES: Hollywood accountants got just what they needed from two little bluebirds over the weekend as "Rio" enjoyed the biggest debut of any movie in 2011 thus far. The latest animated outing from the company behind the "Ice Age" franchise, about a pair of endangered South American birds, beat the weekend openings of rival kid flicks "Rango" and "Hop" with its estimated $40 million weekend.

Featuring the voice talents of Jessie Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, George Lopez, and more, "Rio" did 58 percent of its business in 3-D screenings, which helped lift the overall box office 11 percent, marking the first increase against 2010 numbers in eight weekends. The "Rio" debut is still far behind the opening of last spring's "How to Train Your Dragon" and previous Blue Sky Studios hits like the "Ice Age" series, "Robots" and "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"

Meanwhile, the first "Scream" movie in 11 years fell well below expectations with its $19.2 million opening. "Scream 4" was #2 in the box office tally, according to studio estimates. Uniting returning castmembers Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox with a cast of younger newcomers wasn't enough to beat the debuts of either of the other sequels to the 1996 original.

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Box OfficeFROM MTV MOVIES: "Hop" leapt over the competition to become the first movie of 2011 to enjoy two consecutive weeks at #1 on the box-office tally over the weekend. Featuring Russell Brand as the voice of the Easter Bunny, the kids' flick successfully thumped four new movies: "Hanna," "Soul Surfer," "Your Highness" and Brand's own "Arthur." All figures are according to studio estimates released on Sunday.

The $12.6 million opening for English comedian Brand's remake of the 1981 comedy "Arthur" was no match for the $21.6 million collected by the live-action/animated hybrid "Hop," which has earned a total of $68.1 million since its premiere. Neither film is a hit with critics, with both garnering just a 24-percent approval rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from major film columnists across the country.

The first "Arthur" earned original star Dudley Moore an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an alcoholic millionaire and grossed $95.5 million, which is equivalent to $260 million in 2011 when you adjust for ticket-price inflation. The new version, which co-stars Helen Mirren (who hosted "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend) and Jennifer Garner, doesn't seem likely to come close to the original's success. And the remake's debut is far behind the $17.6 million generated by the opening weekend of last year's "Get Him to the Greek," which co-starred Brand alongside Jonah Hill.

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HopFROM MTV MOVIES: "Hop" (featuring the voice of outrageous jokester Russell Brand as an Easter Bunny who poops candy) had the strongest opening weekend of any movie released thus far in 2011. The holiday-themed kids' movie enjoyed a $38.1 million opening, which is just a hair (or "hare"?) more than the $38 million debut of "Rango" five weeks ago.

Both flicks are rated PG. "Hop," which co-stars James Marsden ("X-Men") in the lead human role, earned the rating for some mildly crude humor, whereas "Rango," featuring Johnny Depp voicing a cartoon lizard, has some crude humor, a bit of cowboy action and characters who smoke.

"Rango" remains the better reviewed of the two, with 89 percent of critics finding it worthwhile, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which collects reviews from critics. "Hop" sits at just 20 percent on the Tomatometer at press time. ("Rango" was produced by Paramount Pictures, which like MTV is a subsidiary of Viacom.)

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The King's SpeechWith "The King's Speech" pulling ahead in the Oscar race, Harvey Weinstein may be even more anxious to have the film re-edited to reach a wider audience.

Last week it was reported by the Los Angeles Times that Weinstein, whose Oscar-friendly studio The Weinstein Co. released the film, wanted to find a way to trim an intricate scene of the currently R-rated movie in which King George VI (Colin Firth) lets a string of expletives fly under the instruction of his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).

Weinstein argued that the success of the film in Great Britain was due to a lower rating, as he told the LA Times, "The British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together,” he said, adding, “[Director] Tom (Hooper) and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie.”

But, it seems Hooper may have no intention of changing his vision after all. Hooper, who bested "The Social Network" director David Fincher in an upset win at the Director's Guild of America Awards on Saturday (January 29), spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the possible re-cut.

"I wouldn’t support cutting the film in any way. I think we looked at whether it’s possible to bleep out the f—s and stuff, but I’m not going to actually cut that part," Hooper said of the scene in contention. Read More...

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'The Rite'A typically sleepy January at the box office — save for the welcome $33.5 million debut of "Green Hornet" two weeks ago — continues today with the entry of two new wide-releases: Anthony Hopkins' horror flick set against exorcist-minded priests, "The Rite," and Jason Statham's action-fest about professional assassins, "The Mechanic." When the final dollars are counted, those killers will likely be topped not only by the possession-obsessed priests but by Natalie Portman too. Ouch.

Box office prognosticators are eying an opening around the $17-$20 million mark for "The Rite." The first month of the year has typically been kind to weakly reviewed horror films like "The Rite," and Hopkins' entry should end up grossing something close to 2005's "Hide and Seek" ($22 million) and 2009's "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" ($21.2 million).

But don't expect "The Mechanic" to land in second place this weekend. It looks like "No Strings Attached," Portman and Ashton Kutcher's tepid rom-com, which nabbed the #1 spot with $19.7 million last week, will drop less than 50% and hang on to the #2 notch. That's not a certainty, by any means, but considering that "The Mechanic" hasn't connected with critics and that moviegoers looking for a fresh, high-intensity experience this weekend will likely end up at "The Rite," we have a feeling "No Strings" will come out on top with around $11 million (ahead of "The Mechanic," with $10).

None of these sound appealing to you? No arguments there. Perhaps now is the time to check out "127 Hours," which expands to its most theaters yet this weekend (916 screens around the country). Trust us: you're going to want to take in that flick — and to watch James Franco get nasty with a pocket knife — before the Academy Awards approach next month. "True Grit," "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" are also all still on over 2,000 screens. All, of course, are worth a trip to the multiplex this weekend.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsVoldemort may not be on Harry Potter's Christmas card list, but Warner Bros. is sure digging the evil wizard. The $902 million worldwide take of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" helped WB claim both the worldwide and domestic box office crowns for 2010, the studio announced today.

Warner Bros. tallied an unheard of $4.81 billion in worldwide grosses in 2010 to set a new industry record, decimating its own benchmark of $4.01 billion set in 2009. On the home front, Warners handily beat all comers with $1.88 billion. Paramount Pictures was the domestic runner-up with $1.71 billion in ticket sales, followed by Fox with $1.48 billion, Disney with $1.46 billion, Sony with $1.28 billion, Universal with $885.2 million, Summit with $518.8 million and Lionsgate with $516.9 million. Read More...

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Toy Story 3Movies like "Avatar," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" contributed to 2009's record-breaking $10.6 billion domestic box office total, and it doesn't look like 2010's crop of flicks will be able to outdo that.

Hollywood Wiretap reports that 2010 has fallen just short of 2009's record-breaking box office intake, finishing the year out with $10.556 billion to its name. You can thank "Toy Story 3" ($415M), "Alice in Wonderland" ($334.2M) and "Iron Man 2" ($312.1M) for that high number, with those three films serving as the top three moneymakers of 2010. "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" ($300.5M) and "Inception" ($292.5M) rank closely behind at fourth and fifth place.

But while 2010 marks only the second time in box office history that full year revenues are past the $10 billion line, it also marks the second lowest attended year of the decade after 2008... and the single lowest summer attendance of any year since 2000. Read More...


The Other Guys1. "The Other Guys" ($35.6 million)
2. "Inception" ($18.6 million)
3. "Step Up 3-D" ($15.5 million)
4. "Salt" ($11.1 million)
5. "Dinner for Schmucks" ($10.5 million)

After three weekends mesmerizing audiences with its ambitious dreamscape backdrop, director Christopher Nolan's "Inception" has finally surrendered box office supremacy to the bumbling cops at the center of director Adam McKay's "The Other Guys." Read More...

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The Other Guys1. "The Other Guys" ($13.2 million)
2. "Step Up 3-D" ($6.6 million)
3. "Inception" ($5.5 million)
4. "Dinner for Schmucks" ($3.4 million)
5. "Salt" ($3 million)

For three weeks in a row, Christopher Nolan's "Inception" was an absolute dream at the box office — but the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring action drama is about to receive a wake up call, surrendering its repeatedly earned first place crown to the likes of "The Other Guys." Read More...

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Inception1. "Inception" ($27.5 million)
2. "Dinner for Schmucks" ($23.3 million)
3. "Salt" ($19.3 million)
4. "Despicable Me" ($15.5 million)
5. "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" ($12.5 million)

So much for the "Schmucks." Despite the best efforts of "Anchorman" and "40 Year-Old Virgin" co-stars Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, their latest comedic effort "Dinner for Schmucks" wasn't enough to topple the mind-boggling action extravaganza that is director Christopher Nolan's "Inception." Read More...

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