Madagascar 3 Tops Ridley Scott’s Prometheus by $10 Million in Debut

Madagascar 3 Tops Ridley Scott's Prometheus by $10 Million in DebutMadagascar 3 shrugged off Ridley Scott and his not-quite-an-Alien-prequel Prometheus at the box office this past weekend following a tight race between the two newcomers on Friday.

Opening at a massive 4,258 theaters, Madagascar 3 proved a traveling circus is a charm in hauling in a very healthy $60.35 million in its first three days of release. The original Madagascar topped $60 million in its four-day weekend opening with $60.2 million, while Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa hauled in $63.1 million. $60 million is the sweet spot for the DreamWorks Animation franchise that will almost assuredly move forward with a fourth installment given the opening weekend take and the “A” CinemaScore rating.

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was actually ahead of Madagascar 3 on Friday with $21.4 millon versus $20.45 million. Parents piling their children into matinees showings on Saturday and Sunday helped push Madagascar 3 ahead, but Prometheus still enjoyed a strong opening.

Despite an R-rating, Prometheus drummed up $50 million for its opening weekend. That tops the previous Alien-franchise opening weekend record of $38.3 million and, with over $141 million in worldwide ticket sales, dramatically increases the odds of Fox starting to get an itchy trigger finger on a sequel.

The big test for Prometheus will be how well it holds up headed into next week. Reactions have been mixed with some moviegoers coming away with huge grins and others complaining it made little sense or didn’t connect enough with Scott’s original Alien film. Monday will be telling to see how far Prometheus drops from its opening day.

Third place went to Snow White and the Huntsman with $23 million, a rough 59 percent tumble from its opening weekend. At $98.5 million it will cross $100 million by Tuesday at the latest, but a continued steep drop could drive it from theaters sooner than Universal might have hoped.

Men in Black 3 took fourth place with $13.5 million off a 52 percent drop. It has now totaled $135.5 million in business for Sony and continues to trail both previous films in the franchise.

Marvel and Disney’s The Avengers continues to hang tough with another $10.8 million more than a month after its debut. The current running total for Iron Man and pals now stands at $571.9 million domestically as the magical $600 million mark remains within striking distance.

The remaining top 10 for this past weekend is as follows:

  • 6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) – $3.23 million
  • 7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate) – $2.71 million
  • 8. Battleship (Universal) – $2.28 million
  • 9. The Dictator (Paramount) – $2.15 million
  • 10. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) – $1.58 million

Tom Cruise will rock out next weekend in Rock of Ages, to be joined by the Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg comedy That’s My Boy. Look for Rock of Ages to challenge and likely top both Madagascar 3 and Prometheus at the box office.

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