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‘Madagascar 3’ Is Weekend’s Top Film With $60.4 Million

‘Madagascar 3’ Is Top Weekend Film on Sales of $60.4 Million
The spaceship Prometheus makes its way to a distant planet. Source: Twentieth Century Fox via Bloomberg.

DreamWorks Animation SKG’s “Madagascar 3” opened as the top film at U.S. box offices with $60.4 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, edging out “Prometheus,” a science-fiction thriller from Ridley Scott.

“Prometheus,” from News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, the weekend’s only other new film in wide release, had $50 million in ticket sales, researcher Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Madagascar 3” sales beat the $53.8 million estimate of Box Office Mojo although were less than the $63.1 million opening of “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” released in 2008. The animated 3-D movie received a marketing boost from a popular Nickelodeon TV show based on the penguin characters and ads featuring Chris Rock as a zebra performing a circus tune, Ben Carlson, co-founder of the research firm Fizziology, said in a June 7 interview. The film has little competition for family audiences until Disney’s “Brave” on June 22.

“It’s a very solid opening and I expect this to play well over the next several weeks as most of DreamWorks films usually do,” said Paul Sweeney, a media and entertainment analyst for Bloomberg Industries. “You usually find animated movies do well when the kids are out of school, so they can go again and again and again.”

Before the weekend, Los Angeles-based Fox ranked sixth in 2012 revenue with $416.5 million in domestic ticket sales. Walt Disney Co. was first with $772.2 million.

Detour to France

In “Madagascar 3,” featuring the voices of Ben Stiller, Rock and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Alex the lion and his citified animal friends leave Africa to return to their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo. During a detour to France, they join a circus to escape the clutches of a relentless animal control officer.

“Prometheus” follows a group of explorers who travel to a distant planet to investigate evidence of alien life forms. What they discover may threaten all of humanity. The film, inspired by Scott’s 1979 horror film “Alien,” was expected to generate $55.5 million in sales, the estimate of researcher Box Office Mojo. Events in the movie lead into the storyline of “Alien,” about space travelers who inadvertently bring a deadly reptilian creature onto their ship and stars Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.

‘Snow White’ Sags

Among returning films, “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Universal Pictures’ action-adventure take on the classic fairy tale, dropped to third place from first with sales of $23 million. The film is a dark retelling of the story about a jealous, aging queen who plots against a young beauty. Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White and Chris Hemsworth plays the hunter who helps her. Theron portrays the queen who preys on the young women as a means of preserving her own beauty.

The 3-D “Men in Black 3” was 4th with $13.5 million in sales. The movie stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as special agents charged with managing Earth’s secret alien population. Smith’s character, Agent J, travels back in time to prevent a villain’s attempt to change history. To accomplish his mission, he must work with a younger version of Jones’s character, played by Josh Brolin.

Disney’s superhero film “Marvel’s the Avengers” was 5th with $10.8 million. The movie features a collection of Marvel heroes, including Iron Man and The Hulk, who unite to battle an army of alien invaders led by the Norse god Loki. Robert Downey Jr. stars. The movie has taken in $571.9 million in domestic sales since it opened on May 4.

‘Battleship’ Slows

“Battleship” dropped to 8th place from 4th with sales of $2.3 million. The film has taken in $59.8 million in domestic sales since opening in the U.S. on May 18. Taylor Kitsch stars as a U.S. Navy officer who helps lead a sea battle against invading aliens.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 30 percent to $172 million from a year earlier, said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 9.9 percent to $4.7 billion, with attendance up 12.4 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for June 8 and June 9 and estimates for today.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
1 MADAGASCAR 3         $60.4   4,258  $14,173   --    $60.4   1
2 PROMETHEUS            50.0   3,396   14,723   --     50.0   1
3 SNOW WHITE & HUNTSMAN 23.0   3,777    6,095   -59    98.5   2
4 MEN IN BLACK 3        13.5   3,792    3,560   -52   135.5   3
5 THE AVENGERS          10.8   3,129    3,454   -47   571.9   6
6 BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD   3.2   1,298    2,492   -28    31.0   6
7 WHAT TO EXPECT         2.7   2,087    1,299   -39    35.7   4
8 BATTLESHIP             2.3   1,954    1,170   -55    59.8   4
9 THE DICTATOR           2.2   1,651    1,302   -54    55.2   4
10 MOONRISE KINGDOM      1.6      96   16,444    80     3.7   3
11 DARK SHADOWS          1.4   1,550      877   -63    73.7   5
12 THE HUNGER GAMES      1.1     751    1,398   -33   400.3  12

Top 12 Films Grosses:
   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $172.0        $132.4       +30%

Year-to-date Revenue:
     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $4,699.9      $4,277.4     +10%

Year-to-date Attendance:       +12%

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