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, where the film is set. The film features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jake T. Austin. It tells the story of Blu (Eisenberg), a male Spix's macaw who is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a free-spirited female Spix's 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.
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, 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.