German actor Michael Fassbender (L), Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (2nd L), South African actress Charlize Theron (2nd R) and U.S. actor Logan Marshall-Green pose for photographers at the world premiere of 'Prometheus' in London's Leicester Square May 31, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Paul Hacket)
Madagascar and Prometheus both triumphed over the weekend making $60 million and $50 million respectively in three days.
After prognosticators were expecting modest debuts from the two wide releases "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus", the two films surprised by beating out expectations. The family animated" Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" landed at the top of the domestic box office with an outstanding $60.4 million. The R rated alien film "Prometheus" landed at number two with an estimated $50 million.
The weekend was not only good for the two films but for the box office because North American box office revenues were up nearly 30 percent from the same weekend last year when "Super 8" opened.
"Madagascar 3" benefited from its built-in audience and from the fact that the film was the best reviewed of the three. The third installment returned with its original cast Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer in the lead voice roles. Thespians joining the franchise included Frances McDormand, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain and Bryan Cranston.
According to Dreamworks animation president of marketing Anne Globe, "Audiences and critics loved this one the most, a real accomplishment." The film performed on par with the first two movies which opened with $47 million in 2005 and $63 million in 2008. The opening weekend also represented DreamWorks Animations' best domestic debut since "Shrek Forever After" opened in 2010 with $70.8 million in its first weekend. "Madagascar 3" will also be the second-to-last DreamWorks Animation title that is distributed by Paramount unless the output deal between the two companies is renewed.
The second wide release "Prometheus" edged out Madagascar 3 on Friday, but fell 25 percent on Saturday. Ridley Scott, the director of the film, and the studio intend for the movie to launch a franchise, similar to Scott's blockbuster Alien series. Prometheus cost $130 million.
The film which stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron was not tracking well at first with women but at the end polls showed that 64 percent of the audience over the age of 25 and 43 percent of the audience was female.
A big advantage for "Prometheus'" success was IMAX where the film grossed $9.1 fro, 294 IMAX theaters. That figure set a June record for IMAX screenings.
Entering its second weekend Universal's "Snow White and the Huntsman," also starring Charlize Theron, placed No. 3, falling 58 percent to an estimated $23 million for a total domestic gross of $98.5 million.
Sony's Men in Black 3, in its third weekend, made $13.5 million for a 17 day gross of $135 million. "The Avengers" continued its success with a $10.8 million for a domestic gross of $571 million and $1.4 billion worldwide.
On the art house front "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", from Fox Searchlight, continued its success placing 6th with a $3.2 million from 1,298 theaters for a domestic gross of $31 million while "Moonrise Kingdom" of Focus Features also continued to do well. Moonrise came in 10th with $1.6 million as it expanded to 96 locations in its third weekend. The film has now earned $3.8 million to date.