RELATED: Dune Lands Number One Spot at Weekend Box Office with $40.1M

It was another winning weekend for the movie industry with box office receipts up an estimated 34% from this time last year making everyone hope the 2011 slump is over. Rain in much of the country no doubt helped encourage moviegoers to buy a ticket and stay indoors.

You can't keep a good bird down evidently. Rio was the champ for the second weekend running. It's $26.5 million haul was enough to beat out Madea's Big Happy Family that opened to a robust $26 million. However, Tyler Perry's sixth cross-dressing film performed under expectations. Many had been projecting a $30 million opening weekend but it wasn't able to pull that off. The last two movies featuring his popular Madea character had opened at $41 million and $30 million. Are audiences getting tired of Madea?

Doing better than expected was the Robert Pattinson/Reese Witherspoon romance Water for Elephants. It seems enough Twi-hards turned out, along with older women, to bring the films opening weekend grosses to an impressive $17.5 million, about $2.5 million more than was projected. It seems like these two stars, who both needed a hit, have scored big time.

In other news, Hop managed to jump past the $100 million this weekend making it a certified hit. I hope this doesn't mean we will be forced to endure a Hop 2 next year. Speaking of animals, Disney's African Cats opened to about $6 million - a good start for a niche film. It's narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, by the way.

So that's the news. Now I'm going to hop out on the avenue (5th Avenue) with my bonnet for brunch and jelly beans. Happy Easter, everyone!