Rio (2011 film)

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A blue Spix's macaw wearing a yellow scarf is surrounded by other birds and animals from the film. They sit on a sandy beach with beachgoing tourists in the background, facing away. The weather is mostly sunny, with one cloud in the sky. The text reads "From the creators of Ice Age: RIO"
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Carlos Saldanha
Produced by Bruce Anderson
John C. Donkin
Screenplay by Don Rhymer
Joshua Sternin
Jeffrey Ventimilia
Sam Harper
Story by Carlos Saldanha
Earl Richey Jones
Todd Jones
Starring Jesse Eisenberg
Anne Hathaway
George Lopez
Jemaine Clement
Leslie Mann
Jamie Foxx
Music by John Powell
Cinematography Renato Falcão
Edited by Harry Hitner
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22) (World premiere)[1]
  • April 15, 2011 (2011-04-15) (North America)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[2]
Box office $484,635,760[3]

Rio is a 2011 American 3D computer-animated musical adventure-comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and directed by Carlos Saldanha. The title refers to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro,[4] where the film is set. The film features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway,, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jake T. Austin.[5] It tells the story of Blu (Eisenberg), a male blue macaw who is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a free-spirited female blue macaw, Jewel (Hathaway). The two eventually fall in love, and together they have to escape from being smuggled by Nigel (Clement), a cockatoo. The theme song, "Telling the World" was performed by Taio Cruz.

Saldanha developed his first story concept of Rio in 1995, in which a penguin is washed up in Rio. Saldanha learned of the production of the films Happy Feet (2006) and Surf's Up (2007), and changed the concept to involve macaws and their environments in Rio. He proposed his idea to Chris Wedge in 2006, and the project was set up at Blue Sky. The main voice actors were approached in 2009. During production, the crew visited Rio de Janeiro and also consulted with an expert on macaws at the Bronx Zoo to study their movements.

Rio premiered on March 22, 2011 in Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, and had its general release on April 15, 2011 in North America. The film received generally positive reviews from film critics. Observers praised the visuals, voice acting, and music. The film was also a box office success, grossing over $143 million in the United States and $484 million worldwide. The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "Real in Rio", but lost to the other nominee, "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets.[6]

A sequel, Rio 2, was released on April 11, 2014.


In Brazil, various exotic birds are smuggled out of the country. In Moose Lake, Minnesota, a crate with a male Spix's macaw hatchling falls out of a truck and is found by a little girl named Linda Gunderson, who names him Blu. Over the next 15 years,[7] Linda owns a bookstore. Highly domesticated and unable to fly, Blu is ridiculed frequently by the Canada geese that come by outside of Linda's bookstore.

One day, ornithologist Túlio Monteiro invites Blu and Linda to Rio de Janeiro on the condition that Blu, who is the last male of his species, mates with a female macaw. Linda accepts and they fly to Rio, where Blu meets a red-crested cardinal named Pedro and his yellow canary friend Nico. At Túlio's aviary, Blu meets Jewel, a fiercely independent blue macaw longing to flee into the wilderness. The macaws are captured by Fernando, an orphaned boy, and a sulphur-crested cockatoo named Nigel, both of whom work for a group of smugglers led by Marcel, who wants to leave the country as soon as possible to secure a black market deal regarding Blu and Jewel. While Fernando has second thoughts about his actions, Nigel tells the macaws that he desires to exact revenge on "pretty birds" after his role on a television program had been ruined by one. However, because of Blu's familiarity with cages, they flee into the jungle. Fernando meets Linda and Túlio and helps them find the birds, while Blu and Jewel meet Rafael, a toco toucan, who offers to take them to his bulldog friend, Luiz, to remove their leg chain. He attempts to teach Blu how to fly, before they meet up with Pedro and Nico. Meanwhile, Nigel hires a horde of thieving marmosets led by Mauro to capture Blu and Jewel. Pedro and Nico then take the two birds to a Rio-style dance party, where they perform a duet and begin to fall in love, but encounter the marmosets in the process. The birds fight them off while the five escape on a tram. Fernando takes Linda and Túlio to the smugglers' hideout, where they discover that the birds have already been moved out. Marcel explains that he will use the Rio Carnival parade to smuggle the birds to the airport, as the other streets have been blocked off for the festivities. Meanwhile, Blu and the others meet Luiz, who releases the chain holding Blu and Jewel. After the two get into a heated argument, they decide to go their separate ways.

Pedro and Nico then witness Nigel capturing Jewel. When Blu and Rafael learn of it, they rush to the carnival to rescue her. Meanwhile, Linda and Túlio have spotted the smuggler's parade float and organize a rescue attempt for the birds. As Linda and Túlio pose as dancers in blue macaw costumes, Nigel captures Blu and the group. Linda and Túlio are unable to stop the smugglers in time and Marcel's group takes off in a Short SC.7 Skyvan. During the flight, Blu destroys his cage using a fire extinguisher and releases the other captive birds. However, Nigel attacks the macaws, injuring Jewel. Blu sends Nigel flying into the plane's engine using the fire extinguisher, causing the plane to fall. The smugglers flee the plane. Unable to fly, Jewel falls out of the plane's open cargo hatch towards the ocean. Jumping out of the plane to rescue her, Jewel and Blu share a kiss and Blu finally discovers that he is able to fly and carries her to Linda and Túlio for help. Later, they adopt Fernando and organize a sanctuary to protect the jungle from smugglers. Blu and Jewel eventually raise three children together, and celebrate with their friends. Meanwhile, Nigel (who actually survived the plane accident) is ridiculed for his loss of feathers, and the smugglers are sent to jail.

Voice cast[edit]


Saldanha first had the idea for the film in 1995, involving a penguin being washed up on the beaches of Ipanema; it was changed to the current story after he learned of Happy Feet and Surf's Up (two other films involving penguins) being produced. He pitched the idea to Chris Wedge at Blue Sky in 2006.[7] Saldanha showed the animators maps and books with geographic landmarks and measurements, from which they built a digital version of Rio. Later, a group of artists from the company visited Rio to see the various story locations.[9] The animators also met with an expert on macaws at the Bronx Zoo to gain insight into their movement and personalities.[10] Saldanha himself is a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro; such elements of Brazilian culture and landmarks were also influenced from Saldanha growing up in Brazil.[10]

The lead voice actors were approached in 2009.[7] Jemaine Clement was approached to do the film after seeing test shots of his character Nigel doing a speech from Flight of the Conchords,[11] which was done prior to a script being finalized.[12] Neil Patrick Harris was supposed to voice Blu, but had other commitments outside production;[5] he was later replaced by Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg was asked during the filming of The Social Network if he would do his voice recording on the weekends, and he agreed after reading the script, saying: "It was the perfect antidote to get out of the mindset of my character in Social Network who was so severe, and in some ways so joyless."[13]

For music, they brought on board Sérgio Mendes to act as music guru and online living library.[10] He in turn was able to reach out to artists such as and Carlinhos Brown to provide music for the film.[14]

Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, who voiced Jewel, had acted together before when both were still teenagers, when they played siblings in the short-lived 1999 TV show Get Real. Hathaway stated in an interview that she didn't see Eisenberg during production of Rio except "socially throughout the process," but that she was "very happy for all of his success."[15]



Rio: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29) (Digital download)
April 5, 2011 (Audio CD)
Genre Pop, Latin, alternative hip hop
Length 38:11
Label Interscope, Music Group
Producer Sérgio Mendes, John Powell
Blue Sky Studios film soundtrack chronology
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Singles from Rio: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "Telling the World"
    Released: March 22, 2011

On March 18, 2011, Brazilian-English singer-songwriter Taio Cruz released a music video and theme song named "Telling the World" on YouTube for the soundtrack.[16]

Rio: Music from the Motion Picture was released in the United States by 20th Century Fox on March 29, 2011, for digital download[17] and by Interscope Records on April 5, 2011, in Audio CD format.[18]

In the Brazilian edition some songs gained a Portuguese version performed by famous Brazilian artists such Ivete Sangalo (replacing Ester Dean in "Take You to Rio (Remix)") and Carlinhos Brown (replacing Jamie Foxx in "Fly Love"). "Real in Rio" became "Favo de Mel" (Honeycomb) but it was performed by the same artists as the English version.[19][20]


Chart (2011) Peak
US Billboard 200[21] 60
US Digital Albums 10
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 6
US Billboard Top Rap Albums 2
US Kid Albums 8
US Soundtracks 4


Film score by John Powell
Released April 19, 2011 (2011-04-19)
Genre Score
Length 47:04
Label Varèse Sarabande
John Powell film scores chronology
Mars Needs Moms
Kung Fu Panda 2

The film score of Rio was composed by John Powell and was released on April 19, 2011, by Varèse Sarabande Records.[22][23]


The world premiere of Rio took place on March 22, 2011, at a Cinépolis theater in Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro.[1][24] The United States premiere was on April 10, 2011, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, and was released throughout the country five days later.[25] Pixar Animation Studios cancelled the release of their planned 2012 film Newt because of the similarity of its plotline to Rio.[26]


In April 2011, Oreo announced its special edition Oreo cookies with blue cream in promotion of the film. The promotion included stickers inside each package of cookies. Two types of contest were also announced: first, by completing an album of stickers, consumers could win three movie passes and medium snack bar combos; second, by finding winning stickers in packages with prizes including a trip to Rio de Janeiro, backpacks, cinema passes for a year, and 3D glasses. The promotion ended on May 30, 2011.[27] The promotion is available in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.[citation needed]

On January 27, 2011, Rovio Mobile announced a partnership with 20th Century Fox to promote the film. The game Angry Birds Rio was released in March 2011 on the Android Market and the Apple App Store with 50 levels. Rovio released more levels throughout 2011.[28] With the DVD and Blu-ray release, Rovio and 20th Century Fox announced that they were going to start selling Rio Plush Toys in the Angry Birds Online Store and the DVD and Blu-ray comes with a code for 15 Hidden Levels, along with 3 Angry Birds Rio Videos. Also, McDonald's ran a promotion with Rio toys in their Happy Meals.[29]

In February 2011, the MPAA gave the film a PG rating for "mild off-color humor". The producers, displeased by this rating, resubmitted an edited version of the film to the ratings board one month later, and the MPAA changed the film to a G rating.[30]

Home media[edit]

As a tribute to the country where most of the story is set and where the director was born, Rio was first released for home video in Brazil, on both DVD and Blu-ray, on July 7, 2011.[31] The North American release date was August 2, 2011,[32] and the Australian release date was September 28, 2011.[citation needed] As of June 2014, a total of 12 million Blu-ray and DVD units had been sold worldwide.[33]

Rio is available in 4 different packages: a 4-disc "Party Edition" combination package (3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy), a 3-disc "Party Edition" combination package (Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy), a 2-disc "Party Edition" combination package (DVD and Digital Copy), and a single disc DVD.[32][34] The "Digital Copy" included with the 3-disc combination package is a separate disc that allows users to download a copy of the film to a computer through iTunes or Windows Media Player software. The 3-disc combination package also comes with an hour of bonus features.[34][35]

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the film was released on April 12, 2011, for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360.[36] It has a Party-genre similar to the Mario Party series. Another game, Angry Birds Rio, was released in March 2011 for various mobile and desktop systems.[37]

Rio: The 4-D Experience[edit]

Rio: The 4-D Experience is a 12-minute 4D film shown at various 4-D theatres over the world. Produced by SimEx-Iwerks, it premiered on September 27, 2013 at the San Diego Zoo 4-D Theater.[38] Since May 24, 2014, it is being shown at the 5D Cinema at the revived Kentucky Kingdom. Since July 2014, it is being shown at the 4D Special FX Theater at Moody Gardens.[39] And since October 25, 2014, it is being shown at the Roxy Theatre at Warner Bros. Movie World.[40]


Box office[edit]

Rio made $143,619,809 in North America, along with $341,015,951 in other territories for a total of $484,635,760 worldwide, becoming the 13th highest-grossing film of 2011[41] and the 107th highest-grossing film of all time.[3] It was the first film of 2011 to pass the $400-million mark.

North America

Rio debuted with $39,225,962 during its opening weekend on approximately 6,400 screens at 3,826 theaters. It ranked No. 1 at the box office surpassing the other new wide release, Scream 4, which ranked #2.[42] This was the highest-grossing opening weekend of 2011 that far, finishing the year at sixteenth.[43] It also scored the largest opening weekend in April for an animated feature, and the sixth largest in April overall.[44] On its second weekend (Easter weekend) it retained first place at the box office, dropping only 33% to $26.3 million, therefore surpassing that weekend's releases, Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family ($25.1 million), Water for Elephants ($16.8 million), and African Cats ($6 million), which ranked second, third, and sixth, respectively.[45] Rio‍ '​s income of $143.6 million made it Blue Sky's second lowest box office result at the time, surpassing only Robots,[46] and the 18th highest grossing film of the year in North America.[47]

Other territories

On its first weekend overseas (the weekend before its release in North America) it topped the box office with $54.9 million from 11,714 screens in 72 countries.[48] On its second weekend it earned $55.4 million, still on top of the overseas box office[49] and on its third weekend it remained at the summit of the box office, grossing an estimated $44.3 million. It therefore marked the second film that succeeded in topping the overseas box office three times in 2011, joining Tangled, although it is the only one that did it on three consecutive weekends.[50]

In Brazil, the film's main setting and Saldanha's homeland, Rio was the largest release ever with over 1,000 screens.[51] Its opening weekend gross of $8.4 million was the biggest ever for an American film[52] (surpassed one year later by Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted). On its second weekend it earned $7.2 million, falling just 14% from its opening. It then delivered the highest-grossing third weekend in history with $6.3 million (a 12% decline).[53] Rio finished 2011 with a final gross of $36.8 million (R$68.7 million), the second highest income of the year after The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.[54]

In Russia and the CIS, it topped the box office with $11.3 million during its opening weekend (including weekday previews), surpassing Tangled for the largest all-time opening of a non-sequel animated feature. It earned $24.7 million in total, marking the fourth largest animated film of all time.[55] In Venezuela, it has earned $8 million, marking the second-highest-grossing film of all time behind Ice Age 3 ($11.6 million).[56] In Uruguay, it is the fourth highest-grossing film of all time with $754,820 after Titanic ($2.1 million), Avatar ($1.1 million), and Ice Age 3 ($1 million).[57] In Peru, grossing $3.8 million, it is the third-largest animated feature behind Ice Age 3 and Shrek Forever After, and the fourth highest-grossing film of all time behind these two and Avatar.[58] In India, it grossed 10,000,000 in three weeks making the biggest animated opener ever.[59]

Critical response[edit]

Rio received positive reviews from film critics. As of May 2015, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes had scored a 72% rating, with an average rating of 6.4 out of 10, based on 145 reviews. The website's consensus is: "This straightforward movie hits great heights thanks to its colorful visual palette, catchy music, and perfect vocal performances."[60] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has an average score of 63 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[61]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a mixed "C" rating. Gleiberman praised the animation in Rio and its music, and later went on to say that the film is "less a Pixar-level pleasure than a busy, frantic, and overstuffed dessert of a movie."[62] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave a positive review of the film. Sharkey said that the storyline is an "eco-sensitive variation of 101 Dalmatians with birds as prey", and praised the film for its comic action and the voices, as well as the visuals.[63]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
84th Academy Awards Best Original Song, "Real in Rio" Sérgio Mendes
Carlinhos Brown
Siedah Garrett
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Bruce Anderson
John C. Donkin
Carlos Saldanha
Best Character Animation in an Animated Production Jeff Gabor Won
Patrik Puhala Nominated
Best Character Design in a Feature Production Sergios Pablos
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Carlos Saldanha
Best Music in an Animated Feature Production Mikael Mutti
Siedah Garrett
Carlinhos Brown
Sérgio Mendes
John Powell
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Thomas Cardone
Kyle MacNaughton
Peter Chan
Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Jemaine Clement
38th People's Choice Awards[64] Favorite Movie Animated Voice Anne Hathaway
2011 Teen Choice Awards[65]
2012 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Animated Movie
38th Saturn Awards Best Animated Film


Main article: Rio 2

A sequel, titled Rio 2, was released on April 11, 2014. Carlos Saldanha, the creator and director of the first film, returned as director. All the main cast, including Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jemaine Clement, Jamie Foxx,, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, Jake T. Austin, Leslie Mann, and Rodrigo Santoro, reprised their roles. New cast includes Andy García, Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Amandla Stenberg, Rachel Crow, Pierce Gagnon, and Natalie Morales. The sequel follows Blu, Jewel and their three kids on a venture into the Amazon where they try to live like real birds. Eventually, they find Jewel's long-lost father Eduardo, who is in hiding with a tribe of other Spix's macaws. At first everything seems perfect, but Blu is having trouble adapting to the wild. Eventually, they discover that the Amazon is under threat, and that Blu and Jewel's old nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo, is back for revenge.[66]


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External links[edit]