12 April 2014 8:09 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In the tightest race of the year and the first major battle of the sequels, Fox-Blue Sky Studios’ “Rio 2” flew past Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” at the Friday box office.

The lighthearted family toon grossed $12 million, edging out the politically-infused superhero pic’s $11.9 million Stateside haul. “Rio 2,” which brought in $375,000 from Thursday night shows, also looks to dominate in the weekend box office. It’s on track for $44 million, versus the “Captain America” sequel’s $41 million. Distributors had expected the opposite turnout leading into the weekend and had underestimated the earning potential of both movies.

Rio 2” is coming in strong for a family film considering the fact that theater-goers usually skew older on Fridays, an advantage for “Captain America.” There will likely be a spike in attendance on Saturday and the movie looks to bring in strong earnings next weekend when the number of »

- Maane Khatchatourian

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