It’s difficult to imagine two more different films going head-to-head at the box office. However, by appealing to completely different audiences, ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted‘ and ‘Prometheus‘ both managed to emerge from the weekend as big winners, making this the first weekend in months where two new major releases opened strong.

1. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted: $60,350,000 ($60,350,000)

2. Prometheus: $50,000,000 ($50,000,000)

3. Snow White and the Huntsman: $23,021,000 ($98,500,000)

4. Men in Black 3: $13,500,000 ($135,505,000)

5. The Avengers: $10,809,000 ($571,860,000)

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: $3,235,000 ($31,009,000)

7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting: $$2,710,000 ($35,745,000)

8. Battleship: $2,286,000 ($59,830,000)

9. The Dictator: $2,150,000 ($55,189,000)

10. Moonrise Kingdom: $1,579,000 ($3,750,000)

After a Friday where the two films ran neck and neck, ‘Madagascar 3′ managed to ultimately win the weekend with a gross of $60 million. ‘Prometheus’ slid into the number two spot with $50 million. The short version: there were no losers here.

‘Madagascar 3′s opening is right in line with the franchise’s usual numbers (‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’ opened to $63 million in 2008) and unless audiences abandon it, it’ll follow its predecessors and gross just south of $200 million. With no other kid-friendly movies opening for the next few weeks, it should manage to coast by on its target audience until ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ hits on July 3rd. Animated family films tend to have legs anyway, as many families don’t flock out on opening weekend and others return several times to satiate their kids’ lust for animals with celebrity voices. Expect a ‘Madagascar 4′ in the pipeline very soon.

Although ‘Madagascar 3′ won the weekend, ‘Prometheus’ may be the bigger victor, simply because R-rated science fiction horror films don’t traditionally open this big. Then again, most R-rated science fiction horror films don’t cost $200 million and aren’t not-so-secret prequels to ‘Alien.’ R-rated summer blockbusters are rare (notable exceptions in the past decade: ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’) and the big opening of ‘Prometheus’ may open the door for more big budget genre efforts for adult audiences. Heck, if ‘Prometheus’ hadn’t killed Guillermo del Toro’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness,’ its success could have given that project new life.

Unlike ‘Madgascar 3,’ though, ‘Prometheus’ doesn’t have guaranteed legs and it’s going to need them. There’s no way this thing is going to break even domestically (expect a domestic gross of $130 million or so unless it has a sudden and horrible drop-off next week), but it should perform respectably enough worldwide to be seen as a moderate success.

In the number three spot, ‘Snow White and the Hunstman‘ took a pretty big (but not disastrous) dip to $23 million, for a grand total of $98 million. It’ll most likely land around $160 million, not a huge success, but enough of a success for Universal to move forward with a sequel. They’re most likely looking at this one as a primer for part two, which is where all of the real money will be. Hopefully. Below that, ‘Men in Black 3‘ keeps on trucking. It’s $13 million gross takes it to $135 million and it’s pretty obvious that $200 million domestic is completely out of the question at this point. It’s not a flop, but it’s certainly not a hit either, a bruise on Will Smith’s shiny, once untouchable career.

In the number five spot, ‘The Avengers‘ is finally starting to slow down, taking in $10 million for a total gross of $571 million. Odds are still good that’ll hit ‘Titanic’s $600 million gross and surpass it to become the second highest grossing film of all time, but any hopes it once had of surpassing ‘Avatar’s $760 million have been completely dashed. Right under Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the other big hit of summer 2012: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,’ which made $3 million for a total of $31 million. That may not seem like a big number, but most blockbusters would kill for the financial stability consistency of this movie. It’s a longshot right now, but wouldn’t it be hilarious if it outgrosses ‘Battleship‘?

Oh, speaking of ‘Battleship’: Ouch. A weekend gross of $2 million brings it to $59 million. It was dead on arrival, but now it’s looking like it won’t even match ‘John Carter’s $72 million, making it the biggest bomb of the year so far. ‘Battleship’ is flanked by two other disappointments: ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and ‘The Dictator‘ aren’t flops on the same level as Peter Berg’s board game adaptation, but no one is particularly happy with these results.

The top ten is rounded out with Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ which rode solid word of mouth and critical buzz to a weekend take of $1.5 million, raising its total gross to $3.7 million. With much of the top ten on the way out, there’s a definite chance that it will continue to to linger around the number ten spot for the next couple of weeks, especially as it slowly expands its theater count. Speaking of indie successes, the quasi-sci-fi romantic comedy ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ opened well in limited release, grossing $100,000 from nine theaters. This is the kind of audience-pleaser that has a great chance of being a sleeper hit, so keep your eyes on it.

And finally, after twelve weeks of release, ‘The Hunger Games‘ finally crossed the $400 million mark. With this landmark crossed, the film will finally begin to vanish from the few screens it still inhabits.

Next week, ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘That’s My Boy’ both threaten to destroy your eyes and ears through Tom Cruise singing and Adam Sandler comedy, respectively.


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