Box-Office Preview: 'Rio 2,' 'Captain America: Winter Soldier' Prepare for Battle

 Zade Rosenthal/Marvel

Brazilian filmmaker Carlos Saldanha's Rio 2 is expected to gross $40 million to $45 million in its North America debut, putting it in a close race with holdover Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the top perch at the box office.

The 3D animated family film hopes to parrot the success of Rio, which grossed $484.6 million worldwide and launched a new franchise for Saldanha, Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios. Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway return as the voice leads in the sequel, which opens exactly three years after the first movie took in $39 million on its first weekend domestically.

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Rio 2 began rolling out in select foreign markets late last month, and has taken in a strong $57.7 million to date. By this weekend, the $130 million film will have opened in most of the world, taking advantage of spring break holidays in the U.S. and much of Europe.

This time out, parrots Blu (Eisenberg) and Jewel (Hathaway) and their three offspring strike out on a trip to the Amazon rainforest with their owners, Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro). The voice cast also sees the return of will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement and Jake T. Austin. New voice cast members include Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth and Rita Moreno.

Disney and Marvel's Captain America 2 made history last weekend when debuting to $95 million, the top April opening of all time in the U.S. Through Wednesday, the superhero tentpole has grossed $113 million in North America and easily north of $350 million worldwide. As with Rio 2, the Marvel sequel is expected to take in between $40 million and $45 million this weekend domestically.

The weekend's other new two nationwide players are Ivan Reitman's football drama Draft Day and Mike Flanagan's horror film Oculus, both of which are expected to open in the $11 million to $14 million range (Draft Day has a slight edge).

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From Summit Entertainment, Draft Day stars Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sam Elliott and Sean Combs. Reitman's company, Montecito Pictures, produced the $25 million film with OddLot Entertainment.

Relativity is releasing Oculus, costing just $5 million to make, in association with Jason Blum's Blumhouse, MICA Entertainment and WWE Studios. Teaming for the firs time, Relativity and Blumhouse acquired U.S. rights to Oculus at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival for $2.5 million.

The supernatural horror titles stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff.

Limited openings in the U.S. include Entertainment One's British romantic comedy Cuban Fury, starring Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O'Dowd, Olivia Colman, Kayvan Novak, Rory Kinnear, Alexandra Roach and Ian McShane. Cuban Fury will pay in 79 theaters in select markets.

Roadside Attractions debuts David Gordon Green's Joe, starring Nicolas Cage, in 48 theaters.

There are two high-profile openings in New York and Los Angeles: Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton and Mia Wasikowska, and The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.

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