Scene from animated movie Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
Ridley Scott's Prometheus might have featured an outer space struggle against killer aliens. But there were some serious fireworks in its box-office battle against the wisecracking creatures of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.
Madagascar 3 pulled away with the weekend crown with an estimated $60 million weekend take over a $50 million draw from Prometheus.
But both films added serious voltage to the weekend box office as they led a surge of moviegoers back to the theaters. Receipts were up nearly 30% over last year's box office.
"This was a huge weekend for the movie industry," says Paul Dergarabedian, Hollywood.com's box-office analyst. "With the animated Madagascar and the R-rated Prometheus leading the way, there was literally something for every age group at the theaters. And audiences responded."
Last weekend's box-office champ, Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, continued to perform well. It took third place with $23 million, bringing its worldwide total to $182 million. Men in Black 3 placed fourth with $13.5 million in its third weekend.
The Avengers continued to cement its status as the most successful superhero movie of all time, earning a respectable $10.8 million in its sixth week of release.
Even mature audience members were well represented at theaters, with TheBest Exotic Marigold Hotel earning $3.2 million over the weekend in its sixth weekend of release. Fox reported that its audience is mostly Baby Boomers and other viewers over 45. The comedy about British retirees moving to India stars Dame Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson.
Independent moviegoers also responded to Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which took the 10th spot as it continues to open across the country. The quirky teenage love story (which also features Bruce Willis and Bill Murray) brought in $1.6 million.
Prometheus had jumped to the weekend lead with a strong showing on Friday of $21.4 million. But Madagascar- featuring the voices of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer- pulled ahead as the weekend progressed.
Dergarabedian was equally impressed with both films, especially considering that Prometheus was working with a challenging R rating.
"Both of these film really exceeded expectations," he says. "This is a case of both kids and aliens taking the weekend."
By Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY