‘Rio’ Scores 2011’s Biggest Box Office Opening at $40M

With the overall box office up 10% (yes, it’s true), Blue Sky Studios film is the first to hit the big four-oh, while Wes Craven’s fourth “Scream” movie misses the mark at $19.3M

The weekend box office that’s up year-over-year has been the rarest of birds in 2011, but it was spotted this weekend, with the market up 10 percent.

It was led by Fox’s endangered macaw-themed “Rio,” which opened to $40 million, the best start for any film so far this year.

The box office didn’t come without a disappointment, however: Wes Craven’s first “Scream” movie in a decade grossed just $19.3 million, missing pre-release projections that were in the mid-$20 million range.

Here's how the top 10 finished. Full report continues below chart:

Shot for around $90 million by Blue Sky Studios, "Rio" added $53.5 million in international box office revenue. Coupled with its big start abroad a week ago, the film now has $168 million in worldwide revenue.

The film garnered an A grade from moviegoer survey firm Cinemascore.

"I think it's going to have a fantastic next 10 days," noted Fox executive VP of distribution, Chris Aronson, anticipating big moviegoer turnout over spring break.

"Scream 4," meanwhile, returned all of its core talent, including screenwriter Kevin Williamson, and stars Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell, and was shot in Michigan with fairly reasonable price tag of around $40 million.

Despite new additions, such as Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and Anna Paquin, the film was only able to secure an audience that was 56 percent under the age of 25 — the horror/comedy genre, if it may be called such, would typically draw a number closer to 75 percent.

Opening at 3,100 locations spread across 30 territories, "Scream 4" grossed $18 million internationally this weekend.

With the film underperforming among younger moviegoers domestically, however, it didn't reach the $30 million-plus bar set by the second or third installments, or even the conservative low-to-mid-$20 million prediction of its distributor.

Happily for Weinstein/Dimension, the company won't be sharing its "Scream" revenue with Disney, as it did when the first three films were released between 1996-2000.

Finishing third at the box office in its third weekend, Universal's "Hop" provided competition for "Rio," dropping 48 percent to $11.2 million.

In fourth place, FilmDistrict/Sony's "Soul Surfer" held solidly, declining only 30 percent in its second weekend to $7.4 million.

FilmDistrict is also the backer of No. 5 ranked film "Insidious," an Oren Peli-produced horror movie that dropped only 27 percent to $6.9 million in its third weekend.

Focus' Joe Wright thriller "Hanna" finished fourth, dropping only around 40 percent in its second weekend to $7.3 million.

Meanwhile, grossing $3.9 million at 707 engagements, the Lincoln-assassination-themed historical drama "The Conspirator" grossed an estimated $3.9 million, attaining the goal of distributor Roadside Attractions to crack the top 10 at the box office.