Weekend Box Office: Madagascar Repeats While Audiences Put That’s My Boy Up For Adoption

At least Chris Rock isn’t wearing drag.

Even before the weekend started, it was already a sure bet that Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted would repeat as box office champ. And why shouldn’t it. It’s the summer, kids are out of school and they just love computer animation. They don’t care about the actors who voice their favorite characters – totally oblivious to their names in the advertisements – but they love the visuals, especially in three dimensions. Having opened to $60 million a week ago, the only place it can go now is down. When a kid’s flick falls by more than 40% in its second week (M3 dropped 41.1%), studios executives may get antsy. But its already at $120 million, and that’s $7 million better than its predecessor, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, after two weeks. 3-D surcharges and the amount of screens probably have something to do with that. It’s big test will come on Friday when Pixar unleashes Brave into theaters, which will by vying for the 3-D screens that Madagascar holds now.

Repeating in the second spot is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Word of mouth hasn’t been kind to this science-fiction tale that’s been billed as the prequel to 1977’s Alien. Seeing the attendance for its $50 million opening drop by 60% in week two is a recipe for success. Not when the film’s conclusion promises a sequel. The saving grace may be how it performs on an international level. Currently, overseas it has grossed $128 million to bring its total to $217 million worldwide. With an estimated budget of $125 million and eventual DVD/BD sales a sequel could very well happen. Story-wise, Prometheus offers questions with little answers. But the real reason that it will be a hot-seller on Blu-ray is the visuals. Both the video and audio are sure to be top-notch; perfect for videophiles looking to show off their home theaters.

With last week’s one and two remaining the same, it meant that the mainstream newcomers of the weekend, Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy, had to vie for third place. Both skewed to particular demographics. It was PG-13 ’80s jukebox musical versus the R-rated raunchy comedy, which meant that couples had to split up their movie viewing or significant others had to waive the white flag and see whatever the “other” wanted to see. Both were bolstered by stars, with Tom Cruise headlining the musical as rock god Stacee Jaxx, and mullet-sporting Adam Sandler trying to instill laughter with That’s My Boy. Both had an ’80s campiness about them, though the Sandler comedy included something Rock of Ages did not, which is Def Leppard’s signature song of the same name.

If the barometer was to compare Ages to Adam Shankman’s other musical, Hairspray, well there’s no contest. Hairspray was the cheerier musical and had the better talent on board. Besides would you rather see Scientologist Cruise show off Abs of Steel or Scientologist John Travolta in drag? Exactly.

As for the failure of That’s My Boy, it may be proof that Adam Sandler’s fanbase may be waning. Despite Just Go With It being a hit – barely – Jack & Jill proved that the once Teflon comedian/box office star has no idea what his fans want to see. One would think a full-on restricted comedy would appeal to those teenage boys now men who first saw Billy Madison back in the mid-’90s. But the face of comedy is changing. It’s the same reason that Kevin Smith is pretty much an afterthought after a successful run with the View Askewiverse. After attending the screening of That’s My Boy, a critic friend of mine said having witnessed the same comedic train wreck that I did that it’s movies like this where you wished Punch Drunk Love had made $200 million in theaters. That was one of Sandler’s experiments with renowned writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, of Boogie Nights and Magnolia fame. Sandler’s audience didn’t take to the film. They also refused to see Reign Over Me and Funny People. As such, Sandler has retreated to his usual comic schtick. That may explain the upcoming sequel to Grown Ups. At least that’s a comedy where he doesn’t have to be the central character. He’ll have his comic friends – Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin James – to play off of.

Snow White and the Huntsman performed well enough to slip in between Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy to claim fourth position with $13.8 million. Not a bad haul, but with only $122.6 million after three weeks, it will be lucky to scrape to $150 million, which is $25 million short of its production budget. Thankfully, international grosses should be far more lucrative (it’s already amassed $124 million overseas).

Men in Black III is also doing gangbusters overseas, where it has collected 72% of its total gross. Currently, it is sitting at $544 million worldwide. An impressive number, but factoring in the production budget that ballooned to over $225 million as well as what stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and director Barry Sonnenfeld will get in back-end profits and that number doesn’t look as rosy. Well, Sony Pictures does have that Karate Kid sequel in the pipeline for Big Willie’s son, Jaden. So there’s that.

If you were wondering about that film that kickstarted the summer blockbuster season, The Avengers – yep, it’s still in the top ten. In fact, it also had the smallest percentage drop in viewership of recent releases in the top ten. It’s been getting a lot of repeat viewers, even seven weeks into its domestic run. In a few weeks we could be talking about how it has surpassed more than $600 million domestic. That would put it as the third film to reach that milestone, behind James Cameron’s one-two punch of Avatar and Titanic.

Some of the best stories relating to box office are those small films that become unexpected hits. And this week we have two near the bottom of the top ten list. Fox Searchlight’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has made $117 million worldwide with $35 million of that coming from the United States and Canada. Then you have Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Despite playing on less than 200 screens, it continues to play to packed audiences and it had the best per-screen average ($12,253) of any film in the top ten. Look for Focus Features to expand this release in future weeks, because good movies are in short supply, and great ones need to seen by wider audiences.


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Source: Box Office Mojo

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