The animals of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted beat the Existentialism and aliens of Ridley Scott's "non" latest chapter in the Alien franchise called "Prometheus" for the top spot at the box office this weekend...
Pamela McClintock of THR:
Family animated tentpole Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted landed at the top of the domestic box office with a stand-out $60.4 million opening, besting the $50 million scored by Ridley Scott's sci-fi epic Prometheus.
The DreamWorks Animation and Paramount threequel also ruled overseas -- where competition was fierce -- grossing a stellar $75.5 million from 28 markets for a first-place worldwide opening of $135.9 million.
Still, Prometheus was no slouch for an R-rated, original tentpole, and did more than expected on the strength of Scott's fan base and 20th Century Fox's creative marketing materials.
Reversing a downturn that has plagued the box office since early May, North American box office revenues were up nearly 30 percent from the same weekend last year thanks to the two films.
Madagascar 3 -- benefiting from the pent-up demand for family product -- earned a glowing A CinemaScore and returns Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer in the lead voice roles, while Frances McDormand, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain and Bryan Cranston joined the franchise.
The animated pic performed virtually on par with the first two films in the franchise, and brought DreamWorks Animation its best domestic opening since Shrek Forever After in 2010 ($70.8 million).
DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg and Paramount have been tireless in promoting the threequel, which made its worldwide premiere last month at the Cannes Film Festival.
"Audiences and critics loved this one the most of the three films in the series, which is a real accomplishment," said DreamWorks Animation president of marketing Anne Globe, noting that the first two titles received an A- CinemaScore domestically.
The international landscape is highly competitive right now as a number of studio tentpoles battle it out, including Madagascar 3, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman and Men in Black 3. In Europe, they've got another competitior: The European soccer championships, which got underway June 8 in Poland.
Prometheus, which began rolling out in foreign markets the previous weekend, came in No. 2 at the international box office, grossing a strong $39.2 million from 50 markets for a foreign cume of $91.5 million and worldwide total of $141.5 million.
"It is an out-of-this-world opening," Fox president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson said. "A confluence of great reviews and solid word-of-mouth have conspired to create a global hit."
In North America, Prometheus, from 20th Century Fox edged out Madagascar 3 on Friday, but fell 25 percent on Friday (a typical pattern for fan-fueled fare).
Prometheus -- headlining Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron -- earned a B CinemaScore and skewed older, with 64 percetn of the audience over the age of 25. Tracking had been best among men, but a fair number of females -- 43 percent -- ended up turning out.
Fox and Scott are hoping that Prometheus launches a franchise, similar to Scott's blockbuster Alien series. Prometheus cost $130 million to produce after tax incentives.
Prometheus brought big returns for IMAX theaters. In North America, IMAX grosses from 294 theaters totaled $9.1 million, a June record for the exhibitor. Worldwide, weekend receipts reached $12.1 million.
Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman (also starring Theron) placed No. 3, falling 58 percent in its second weekend to an estimated $23 million for a domestic cume of $98.5 million. Overseas, Snow White earned $24.6 million from 52 territories for an international total of $83.5 million and worldwide haul of $182 million.
Sony's Men in Black 3 continued to hold in well in its third weekend, coming in No. 4 domestically with $13.5 million and besting Snow White internationally with $38.3 million. The pic has now earned $487.5 million worldwide.
The Avengers continues to land high up on the box office chart, placing No. 5 with a $10.8 million. Worldwide, the Disney and Marvel Studios' pic hit $1.4 billion over the weekend.
Specialty titles The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom continued to impress in North America, both landing on the top 10 chart.
Marigold Hotel, from Fox Searchlight, placed No. 6 with a $3.2 million from 1,298 theaters for a domestic cume of $31 million in its sixth outing.
Focus Features' Moonrise came in No. 10 with $1.6 million from only 96 locations for a domestic total of $3.8 million in its third weekend.
I'm always a bit skeptical when someone manages to put words like Confluence and Conspired in the same sentence...The reviews of Prometheus seemed a bit more mixed...next weekend will tell the tale for me...
Next: Get ready to Rock Out in the Rock Of Ages and Adam Sandler is dad to Andy Samberg in the adult comedy That's My Boy.