Never underestimate the desire of families with kids to spend a few hours in a darkened theater. Following that logic, Dreamworks’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted handily won the weekend box office battle, with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus taking second by a significant margin.
Madagascar 3 raked in $60,350,000, while Prometheus took in an estimated $50,000,000. This is less than either of the previous two week’s champions, Snow White and the Huntsman and Men In Black III. That’s not a bad first weekend for most movies, but considering the buzz surrounding Prometheus it has to be a bit of a disappointment. But if you combine this weekend with $91,000,000 in overseas receipts—where the film opened last week—$141,000,000 isn’t a shabby haul by any standard.
Though there was less overall business, Prometheus had a better per screen average than Madagascar 3. The animated family film opened up on more than 4200 screens, while Scott’s return to sci-fi showed on approximately 3400. Tepid initial reviews for the Alien pseudo-prequel probably didn’t help matters any.
Most industry experts expected this turn of events. Still, this weekend illustrates that no amount of internet hype can propel a movie into the stratosphere. And there was a lot of publicity behind Prometheus. Every day for the last month it felt like there were new photos, videos, interviews, features, trailers, TV spots, and more. I didn’t expect it to lose out to anything, let alone the third installment of a film franchise I forgot existed. Granted, I’m not the target audience, and I doubt I’m watching the proper channels at the right time, but I didn’t see a single bit of promo for Madagascar 3. At the end of the day I guess there are more way more families looking for PG than film nerds after hard R.
Snow White, MIB 3, and The Avengers round out the top five.