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'Madagascar 3' Tops 'Prometheus' In Opening Week

It was cartoons winning the day over the R-rated sci-fi flick

Fans may have rushed out to see Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" on opening night, but families won out the rest of the weekend as "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" took the box office win.

"Madagascar" earned $60.4 million at the box office this weekend, compared to the even $50 million from "Prometheus." Both films pushed "Snow White & the Huntsman" down to third place with a $23 million weekend (off 59 percent from its opening), and "Men In Black 3" to fourth with $13.5 million, according to The Numbers.

The opening for "Madagascar 3" was actually lower than what it did in 2008 when it had a $63.1 million premiere for "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa." "Prometheus," however, did far better than the last Alien installment in the series, "AVPR: Alien vs. Predator - Requiem," which opened to $9.5 million on its opening weekend on to a $128.8 million worldwide release.

In the end, however, Twentieth Century Fox may have just as big a winner as Paramount Pictures in this battle, considering the budget for "Prometheus" was just $150 million compared to $145 million for "Madagascar 3." While both films will have to fight their way there, it does look like the two will make back their budget through the domestic box office.

"Men In Black 3" has a long, long way to go to meet its $270 million budget. The $13.5 million this weekend brings its 17-day total to $135.5 million, and the film is already losing quite a bit of steam. It will be lucky to break $200 million domestically, let alone $270 million.

"Snow White" is still skirting with the $100 million mark, hitting $98.5 million in two weeks. That film had a budget of $170 million, and still has a good chance of making that back through the domestic box office.

"The Avengers" is now up to $571.9 million, and is still a strong candidate to just reach $600 million, but likely not much more. Still, that will make it the No. 3 movie of all time, behind only "Avatar" and "Titanic" in domestic box office pull.

"Battleship" fell to eighth with a $2.3 million weekend, bringing its total to $59.9 million after 24 days. "Dark Shadows" is at No. 11 with $1.4 million, bringing its total to $73.7 million after a month of release. And "The Hunger Games" finally found that $400 million domestic mark, thanks to a $1.1 million weekend that brought it to $400.3 million.

The fate of "Prometheus" isn't too much of a surprise. Family movies means more people can buy tickets, compared to R-rated films, which have a limited audience. Between 1995 and 2012, R-rated movies have just 29 percent market share with an average gross of $15.3 million, according to The Numbers, compared to a 45 percent market share and an average gross of $42.4 million.

"Madagascar" carried a rating of PG, which produces about a 19 percent market share. However, that's because far fewer films carry that rating than either PG-13 (double the PG films) and R (more than triple the PG films). Those films, however, have an average gross of $37.4 million.

What will be on top next week? Sony Pictures is offering a comedy, "That's My Boy," while Warner Bros. is throwing up a musical, "Rock of Ages." If "Prometheus" gets some strong word of mouth, which is a bit questionable considering the mixed reviews for the film, it could have a strong outing and maybe stay in second place. But more likely, it will move down to third or fourth.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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