‘Madagascar 3’ Is Top Weekend Film on Sales of $60.3 Million

DreamWorks Animation SKG’s “Madagascar 3” opened as the top film at U.S. and Canadian box offices with $60.3 million in sales, 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 $51.1 million in ticket sales, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Madagascar 3” sales beat the $53.8 million estimate of Box Office Mojo although revenue was 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.”

As of June 7, Los Angeles-based Fox ranked sixth in 2012 revenue with $419.1 million in domestic ticket sales. Walt Disney Co. was first with $780.5 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. 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. “Prometheus” 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 $23.1 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 young women as a means of preserving her own beauty.

The 3-D “Men in Black 3” was 4th with $13.9 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 $11.2 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 $572.3 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 32 percent to $174.2 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 10 percent to $4.7 billion, with attendance up 12.5 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for June 8 through yesterday.

     Rev.             Avg./    Pct.    Total
     Movie          (mln) Theaters  Theater    Chg.    (mln) Wks
     1 MADAGASCAR 3:   60.3    4,258   14,166     --     60.3 1
     2 PROMETHEUS      51.1    3,396   15,032     --     51.1 1
     3 SNOW WHITE      23.1    3,777    6,105    -59     98.5 2
     4 MEN IN BLACK 3  13.9    3,792    3,664    -51    135.9 3
     5 THE AVENGERS    11.2    3,129    3,595    -45    572.3 6
     6 MARIGOLD Hotel   3.3    1,298    2,517    -27     31.0 6
     7 WHAT TO EXPECT   2.8    2,087    1,336    -37     35.8 4
     8 BATTLESHIP       2.3    1,954    1,165    -55     59.8 4
     9 THE DICTATOR     2.2    1,651    1,358    -52     55.3 4
10 MOONRISE KINGDOM 1.6       96   16,247     78      3.7    3
11 DARK SHADOWS     1.4    1,550      910    -62     73.8    5
12 THE HUNGER GAMES 1.1      751    1,428    -32    400.3   12

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. ================================== $174.2 $132.4 31.6

Year-to-date Revenue

2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. ================================== $4,704 $4,277 10.0 Year-to-date Attendance: 12.5%
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE