The box-office this weekend saw the third Madagascar movie take the top spot by a relatively significant margin over Prometheus. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted opened with $60 million, making it the 14th biggest opening all time for a 3D animated film. It was just short of the $63 million opening of Madagascar 2, and putting Europe in the title clearly had a positive international effect, as it added another $75 million overseas.
The $60 million put it $10 million up over Ridley Scott’s Alien sequel-not-a-sequel, Prometheus, which nevertheless opened with $50 million, far ahead of studio expectations. The $50 million opening is the second best of Ridley Scott’s career (behind Hannibal), the biggest opening for an Alien film (ahead of Alien vs. Predator’s $38 million), and it was the 12th biggest opening for an R-rated film (fourth among R-rated action films). Moreover, opening in second place with $50 million puts it in good company among the other biggest second-place debuts in box-office history, including the original Madagascar.
Here’s the Top 20 Second-Place Debuts:
1. The Day After Tomorrow — $68 million
2. Sherlock Holmes — $62 milion
3. Wanted — $50.9 million
4. Prometheus — $50 million
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel — $48 million
6. Tangled — $48 million
7. Kung Fu Panda 2 — $47 million
8. The Longest Yard — $46 million
9. Madagascar — $47 million
10. Alvin and the Chipmunks — $44 million
11. Terminator Salvation - $42 million
12. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs — $41 million
13. Casino Royale — $40 million
14. Grown Ups — $40.5 million
15. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — $40.4 million
16. The Last Airbender — $40.3 million
17. Safe House — $40.1 million
18. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan: $38.5 million
19. Over the Hedge: $38.3 million
20. Bee Movie — $38 million
It was a huge success given what Prometheus had going against it — a dark, R-Rated film — but Ridley Scott shouldn’t count his alien creatures yet: The 25 percent drop between Friday and Sunday does not bode well for the film’s word of mouth. I think I’ve also seen upwards of 15 posts this weekend specifically exploring the film’s problems, a treatment that Michael Bay’s films never receive, which I suppose says a lot about the expectations people had for Prometheus.
Speaking of tepid word of mouth, Snow White and the Huntsman — last week’s number one film — fell nearly 60 percent to land at number three this week with $23 million. MIB 3 also continues a bad downward trajectory, falling 52 percent in its third week, while The Avengers added $10 million to bring its total to $571 million with a decent shot at $600 million before it finishes out its run. Speaking of milestones, Hunger Games also became the 14th movie ever to cross the $400 million mark this weekend.