"Rio" flies high at worldwide box offices

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 17, 2011 12:01 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moviegoers around the world headed to "Rio" for the weekend.

The 3D animated misadventure of a Brazilian macaw opened at No. 1 in North America after selling about $40 million worth of tickets, and it led the field overseas for a second weekend, distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday.

The $90 million cartoon scored the biggest opening of the year in North America, and came in at the high end of expectations in the $30 million to $40 million range. Its foreign total rose to about $128 million.

The cartoon revolves around Blu, a rare blue macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg of "The Social Network"), who returns to his native Brazil after a coddled existence as a smuggled pet in the United States.

It was directed by Carlos Saldanha, the Rio de Janeiro-born director of the "Ice Age" trilogy. Both those films and "Rio" were produced by Blue Sky Studios, and distributed by News Corp-owned Fox.

Opening at No. 2 in North America with considerably less success was "Scream 4," the first installment in the horror franchise in 11 years.

The Dimension Films release sold about $19.3 million worth of tickets across the United States and Canada. Industry insiders had expected the bloody reunion of David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell to open in the mid-$20 million range. Dimension is a unit of the closely held Weinstein Co.

After two weekends at No. 1, Universal Pictures' Easter bunny cartoon "Hop" slipped to No. 3 with $11.2 million. Its total stands at $82.6 million. Universal is a unit of NBC Universal, which is controlled by Comcast Corp.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Laura MacInnis)