‘Rio’ Rocks the Box Office with $40M Opening in U.S.

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It looks like Rio found the party it was looking for.

The animated feature from Blue Sky Studios and Fox trounced the competition at the box office, earning an estimated $40 million in ticket sales its opening weekend. That’s the best opening weekend gross of any movie to date for 2011. Released in stereoscopic 3D, the 3D version earned an estimated 58 percent of the weekend gross.

Rio continued a trend of solid openings this year for animated pics, following up on a $38.1 million opening weekend for Rango and $37.5 million for Hop.

Rio got a head start on the U.S. in multiple foreign markets, where it also has been a big success. The movie has earned an estimated $128 million overseas, giving the film an impressive to-date total of $168 million.

Second place fell to Scream 4, which earned about $19.3 million in its opening weekend.

Hop landed in fourth place with a weekend total of $11.2 million. The Illumination Entertainment release has earned about $82.6 million domestic and about $29.4 million overseas for a total of about $112 million. The film could get a boost next weekend, which is Easter.