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'Rio' Eyeing Weekend Win, 'Scream 4' Looking Strong

Scream 4
The Weinstein Company
"Scream 4"

Universal’s "Hop" may take a bite out of Fox's 3D animated film, while Robert Redford’s "Conspirator" opens in a limited run.

NEW YORK — After a hiatus that lasted more than a decade, Dimension Films’ hugely successful Scream franchise is back — and looking good.

Opening alongside Scream 4 on Friday is Fox’s 3D toon Rio, while Robert Redford’s period courtroom drama The Conspirator, distributed by Roadside Attractions, bows in a more limited run.

Tracking suggests Rio will win the weekend, although Fox cautions that Universal holdover Hop could take a bite out of its grosses. Fox expects Rio, opening in 3,826 runs, to earn near $30 million in its opening weekend, while tracking suggests it will do more.

Rio also is poised to do strong midweek business next week, with kids being out of school for spring break. Last weekend, the toon stormed the international box office, grossing $55 million, the best opening of any film this year, anywhere.

Scream 4, from Bob Weinstein’s Dimension, is sparking strong interest among old — and new — fans and should gross in the mid-$20 million range, if tracking services are correct. The film heads out in 3,305 locations.

Wes Craven, who directed the first three films in the Scream franchise, returns to direct the fourth installment. Stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox return, while joining the series as a way to draw younger moviegoers are Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere. There’s been a heavy public relations blitz for the film, with cast members making key television appearances.

If it performs as expected, Scream 4 will mark another victory for Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s revitalized Weinstein Co.

Likewise, a solid performance by The Conspirator — starring Robin Wright and James McAvoy — would continue Roadside’s winning run following indie hit Winter’s Bone and Biutiful. Conspirator opens in only 706 locations, looking to get adults.

Conspirator, about the only woman charged as part of the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, was financed and produced by Joe Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs. Roadside acquired the domestic rights to the film at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Redford has been heavily promoting his film, appearing on numerous television news and talk shows, including Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN. An opening of $4 million would be considered a good start for Conspirator, which could land it in the top 10.

Roadside hosted the premiere of the film last weekend at the Ford’s Theater in Washington, the infamous site of Lincoln’s murder. Numerous politicians and Obama administration officials attended.

Among holdovers, Focus Features’ Hanna, directed by Joe Wright, should stay high on the top 10 domestic box office chart. The action film came in No. 2 last weekend after Hop and retained its position during the week.