‘Rio 2’ to take on ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ at box office


A flock of tropical birds will play the villain to Captain America at the box office.

The 3-D computer-animated family comedy “Rio 2” and last weekend’s No. 1 movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are each expected to gross around $40 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada Friday through Sunday, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys.

A $40-million debut for “Rio 2,” the latest release from 20th Century Fox’s animation company Blue Sky Studios, would likely put it neck-and-neck with the red-white-and-blue-clad hero for the top of the box-office charts.

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That number would also put it on track to match the original “Rio.” That 2011 film opened to $39 million and went on to rake in $144 million domestically, with an additional $341 million from overseas accounting for 70% of its worldwide gross.

Director Carlos Saldanha returns for the “Rio” follow-up, which features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx and Tracy Morgan. The film cost $103 million to make.

“The Winter Soldier,” Marvel Studios’ sequel to 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” took off last weekend with an April record of $95 million in ticket sales.

A gross of $40 million this time around would represent a roughly 60% drop week-to-week, which is typical for big superhero movies from the Walt Disney Co.-owned studio. The film has already passed the $100-million mark domestically and has amassed more than $200 million from overseas.

“Draft Day,” the backroom football drama starring Kevin Costner as the general manager of the struggling Cleveland Browns, is poised for an opening of $12 million or less. That would put it about even with Costner’s last movie, the thriller “3 Days to Kill” that opened in February and has essentially tapped out with a little more than $30 million domestically.

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The movie from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment has received mixed reviews, as indicated by a score of 50% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday.

The micro-budget horror movie “Oculus,” acquired by Relativity Media for U.S. release for $2.5 million, should generate around $13 million in ticket sales through Sunday, which would roughly match 2011’s “Insidious.” That $1.5-million movie posted an opening of $13 million on its way to a $54-million domestic gross and the spawning of a franchise.

The well-reviewed “Oculus,” directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan of “Absentia,” follows a pair of siblings whose parents died mysteriously a decade earlier. The sister, played by Karen Gillan of TV’s “Doctor Who” series, traces the tragedy to a malevolent force brought on by an antique mirror.

For the release of “Oculus,” Relativity’s first low-budget scare-fest, the distributor teamed with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, the company behind horror flicks such as “Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious” and “The Purge.” It cost less than $5 million to make.


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Twitter: @rfaughnder