Rihanna Hits High Note, Helps Draw Diverse Crowd to ‘Home’

The pop star and Jennifer Lopez lend their voices to characters and songs, lifting family film to No. 1 at box office

DreamWorks Animation

The combination of superstar singers Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez in “Home” proved a big draw for the kiddie crowd.

The DreamWorks Animation film debuted at No. 1 and took in $54 million this weekend with Rihanna, or rather her voice, featured in the key role of Gratuity “Tip” Tucci. That’s the daughter of Lucy (Jennifer Lopez) who befriends the purple alien Oh (Jim Parsons), and encounters Captain Smek (Steve Martin).

The audience reflected the diverse voice cast of “Home,” with African-Americans making up 22 percent of the audience, Hispanics 15 percent and Asians and other people of color 15 percent.

The first-weekend haul for “Home” was not far from the $64 million that Rihanna’s last major film, “Battleship,” managed during its entire domestic run. She battled aliens as Petty Officer Cora “Weps” Raikes in that one, which was a pricey bomb at the domestic box office in May of 2012.

Rihanna has had a couple of minor roles in between, playing herself in the R-rated Seth Rogen comedy “This is the End,” and she was the Moon Goddess in the recent movie musical “Annie.”

The singer-turned-actress created a concept album called “Home,” which was released last week and featured the single “Towards the Sun.” Lopez also brought additional attention to the film when she performed “Feel the Light” from the soundtrack on “American Idol” earlier this month.

The combination of the two stars was a key factor in the film’s success.

“The relationship between Tip and her mom (Lopez) provided a really touching emotional element that’s a big part of the film,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson.

Rihanna was clearly thrilled to be a part of the film.

On Friday as “Home” opened, she took to Instagram, telling her 16 million followers: “Today is the day I get to be a complete KID!!!! This movie makes me laugh AND cry, the journey #HOME is so thrilling!”

Rihanna doesn’t have any future movie projects listed on IMDB, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t staying involved. She’s a force in the realm of film soundtracks, with more than 100 to her credit including “The Hangover” and “Wreck-It-Ralph.”