It was animals over aliens at the domestic box office over the weekend.
Catering especially to families with young children, the animated sequel “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” led the weekend with a $60.4 million debut domestically, followed by a big opening among grown-up audiences for three-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott’s “Alien” saga “Prometheus” at No. 2 with $50 million, according to the Associated Press.
“Madagascar 3″ outdid the $47.2 million debut of the 2005 original, though it came in behind the $63.1 million opening of the first sequel, 2008′s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.” The AP reports that ”Europe’s Most Wanted” had the added benefit of today’s higher ticket prices and a bump from fans who caught 3-D shows, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D screenings.
“‘Madagascar 3′ is critically the best-reviewed of the franchise. Both audiences and critics really love this one the most,” Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks Animation, told the AP.
“Madagascar 3″ also took in $75.5 million internationally for a worldwide debut of $135.9 million, according to the AP.
“Prometheus,” from 20th Century Fox, stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron in an offshoot of director’s Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror tale “Alien.” ”Prometheus” did big business despite an R rating, which can limit a movie’s audience since fans under 17 must see it with an adult.
Hollywood’s conventional wisdom dictates that action films should come in with a PG-13 rating to cast the widest net possible for its audience.
“A $50 million weekend disproves that rule, for sure,” Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox, told the AP. “This movie is so special. It’s visually stunning, great storytelling as Ridley is known for. It’s Ridley Scott’s vision. I’m an unabashed fan of the movie, and the performance at the box office bears that out.”
The movie added $39.2 million overseas, bringing its international total to $91.5 million and its worldwide take to $141.5 million since it began rolling out in some markets a week earlier, according to the AP.
The combo of “Madagascar 3″ and “Prometheus” boosted Hollywood out of an early dip in summer-season revenue. After three-straight weekends of declining receipts, domestic business totaled $177 million, up 29 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Super 8″ led with $35.5 million, according to the AP.
“It has to do with the variety of movies in the marketplace,” Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian told the AP. “This is a perfectly programmed summer weekend with a PG-rated animated family film combined with an R-rated, intense sci-fi movie.”
The superhero smash “The Avengers,” from Disney’s Marvel Studios, has stuck around on the domestic box office charts, coming in at No. 5 with $10.8 million and lifting its domestic total to $571.9 million. The year’s top-grossing film, “The Avengers” added $7.8 million overseas, raising its international haul to $824.4 million and its worldwide revenue to just under $1.4 billion.
Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games,” No. 2 on this year’s box-office chart, took in $1.1 million to cross the $400 million mark. Its domestic total stands at $400.3 million, and the film has taken in nearly $650 million worldwide, according to the AP.
Here are the top 10 films from the weekend, according to the AP:
1. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” $60.4 million ($75.5 million).
2. “Prometheus,” $50 million ($39.2 million international).
3. “Snow White & the Huntsman,” $23 million ($24.6 million international).
4. “Men in Black 3,” $13.5 million ($38.3 million international).
5. “The Avengers,” $10.8 million ($7.8 million international).
6. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” $3.2 million ($342,000 international).
7. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” $2.7 million.
8. “Battleship,” $2.3 million.
9. “The Dictator,” $2.2 million ($4.9 million international).
10. “Moonrise Kingdom,” $1.6 million.