A week ahead of its domestic debut, Rio reinvigorated the foreign box office by opening to $54.9 million from 11,714 screens in 72 countries. The 3D format contributed 71 percent of the box office from 57 percent of the screens.
While Russia was Rio's biggest territory with $11.3 million, the real story was the movie's strength throughout Latin America. It grossed a huge $8.4 million in Brazil, which was the top opening ever there for an American movie. It probably goes without saying, but this figure was due in no small part to the movie being set in Rio de Janeiro, the country's second-largest city. The movie's Latin flavor also drove a strong debut in Mexico, which was Rio's third highest-grossing territory with $5.3 million. Rio also had impressive openings in Argentina ($1.5 million), Colombia ($1.4 million) and Chile ($1.4 million).
Rio didn't fly very high outside of Russia and Latin America. Europe, in particular, greeted the lively birds with only lukewarm figures; Germany led the way with $2.6 million, while the United Kingdom and Spain added $2.5 million and $2.2 million, respectively. The movie earned $3.5 million in China, which was more than twice as much as Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but was still not spectacular given the size of the market. Rio also tallied $2.4 million in Australia.
Across the top eight markets, Rio opened to a little over half of the most recent Ice Age movie, which was decent considering it's not an established franchise. It did open at least 25 percent higher than last Spring's How to Train Your Dragon, though, and Dragon ultimately finished with over $277 million in foreign earnings.
"This is a fantastic start for a new franchise," wrote Fox International Co-presidents Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus in an e-mail. "With consistently stellar reviews and excellent word-of-mouth around the world—as well as no significant family competition ahead—we are well established to take advantage of the school holidays which begin in the coming weeks."
Rio expands to 19 more foreign markets, including France, Belgium and Italy, next weekend, and of course also opens in the U.S. and Canada.
Just Go With It came in a distant second, grossing $8 million to bring its foreign total to $88.3 million. Its biggest territories were holdover markets Australia ($1.7 million) and Russia ($1.4 million). With a worldwide total of $190.2 million, it will soon become star Adam Sandler's fifth movie to cross $200 million.
Last week's leader Sucker Punch plummeted approximately 59 percent in holdover markets and earned an estimated $8 million. It was buoyed by a solid $1.8 million opening in Australia and a weak $700,000 start in South Korea. With $31.9 million in foreign grosses so far, the Zack Snyder action movie expands in to China and Japan this weekend.
Limitless continued its gradual foreign rollout this weekend, earning $5.8 million for a total of $30.6 million. The movie opened in second in Spain with $1.4 million, and held third place in the U.K. with $1.2 million. It's now made over $95 million worldwide, and should pass $100 million by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, the month's other major family movie, Hop, drew an estimated $5.3 million on 2,835 screens in 32 territories, lifting its tally to a relatively quiet $14.5 million. It still has 27 territories to go and will add ten next weekend, including Mexico and Spain.