‘Rio’ Ready to Party at the U.S. Box Office

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The box office goes in two very distinct directions this weekend, with horror fans likely headed to Scream 4 while animation offers a bright 3D trip to Rio.

Directed by Carlos Saldanha and produced by Fox’s Blue Sky Studios, the animated feature Rio is set to open in an estimated 3,800 cinemas. Presented in stereoscopic 3D, Rio soared last weekend in the international market and earned about $54 million in ticket sales. With mostly positive reviews — at this writing, RottenTomatoes.com has it at 75 percent positive and Metacritic at 64Rio is looking to make a big splash at the box office.

Here’s a look at the trailer:

Its main new challenger is Scream 4, reviving the popular horror series that began in 1995. Reuniting the original cast — as well as original writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven — Scream 4 is opening at about 3,300 theaters and will make a serious run for the teen audience.

Also opening this weekend is the historical drama The Conspirator, appearing in just over 700 theaters; and the independent Ayn Rand adaptation, Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, at just under 300 cinemas.

Competitive holdovers should include Illumination Entertainment’s hybrid animation/live-action film Hop, the buzz-worth adventure film Hanna, the comedy Arthur and the sports drama Soul Surfer.

Also still in release are the visual-effects extravaganzas Sucker Punch and Battle: Los Angeles, and the animated feature Rango.