Weekend Wrap-Up

Cruise, Sandler Flop at Weekend Box Office

By John Hamann

June 17, 2012

A zebra, a hippo and a giraffe walk into a bar,,,

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Rock of Ages, the much-talked about '80s musical from Hairspray director Adam Shankman opened this weekend at the box office, along with That's My Boy, an R-rated Adam Sandler throwback. Along with the further expansion of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, and second weekends for the power-combo of Madagascar 3 and Prometheus, we have one of those weird and wacky weekends at the box office, where we have flops, drops, good holds, bad holds, and seemingly as always, The Avengers and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Our number one film of the weekend is neither of our openers. Instead, it's a repeat from last weekend in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. Despite the title catering to the overseas audience (where it makes the highest percentage of its revenue), Madagascar 3 is also a hit at home, as it opened to $60 million last weekend ($3 million less than its 2008 predecessor), and rang up another $25 million from Monday to Thursday. It was looking to beat Madagascar 2's second weekend drop of 45%, or even the original's post-Memorial Day Weekend drop of 41%. This weekend, after a first Friday-to-second Friday drop of about 51%, Madagascar 3 was able to battle back thanks to the junior audience (and maybe Father's Day) to earn $35.5 million and a drop of only 41%.


This is the perfect scenario for DreamWorks Animation and Paramount. Four years after the second movie in the franchise was released, the third film is either matching the success of the second film, or even surpassing it. According to critics, these films have gotten better since the first was released. The original Madagascar earned a RottenTomatoes reading of only 55%, followed by a 64% fresh sequel. Now, the third film sits at 74% fresh. Europe's Most Wanted also had a A Cinemascore, so audiences have found something they like.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is also promising on the expense side of the ledger. The second film in the series, Escape 2 Africa, cost DreamWorks Animation $150 million to make, before going on to earn $180 million domestically and $424 million overseas. The third film beat the usual trend of costs for successive sequels rising, as this one cost $145 million - $5 million less than the previous entry. Currently, Madagascar 3 is already a couple of million ahead of Madagascar 2, but the second film in the series didn't have to face off with a Pixar entry in its third weekend (it had Disney's Bolt to worry about, and that dog had no bite), where Madagascar 3 will face Brave next weekend. Madagascar 2 had an opening-to-domestic total multiplier of 2.85, and the third film should improve on that. So far, Madagascar 3 has earned $120.5 million for DreamWorks Animation and Paramount – and the domestic total should represent only 30-40% of total revenue for this one. This is going to quietly be one of the big hits of the summer season.

Our second place film is again neither of our openers, which portends bad things for the new films this weekend. The big one-two punch from last weekend remains intact, as Prometheus finishes as the bridesmaid for the second straight weekend. After opening to $51.1 million last weekend (an awesome haul for an R-Rated sci-fi flick), Prometheus was a mere mortal in its second frame, earning only $20.2 million, dropping a large 60%. This shouldn't be too much of a surprise for the Ridley Scott semi-prequel, as Alien fans were foaming at the mouth for Prometheus, and the film was not quite on target for what they were expecting. I have had a couple of people try and explain how they felt about Prometheus – both gave it a 7 out of 10 – but both were disappointed about how the film related to the Alien mythology. An early budget estimate had Prometheus costing between $120 and $130 million, with some going higher at $150 million (an "official" budget figure was not released, but this looks like a $200 million film). Given the opening and the second weekend drop, Prometheus looks like it will finish as a $130-$140 million film, but will earn another $150 million overseas (at least), which will make this 20th Century Fox release a success.

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