Lines will be long in theaters once again this weekend as two prominent movies get launched, with "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" taking aim at family audiences and R-rated "Prometheus" hoping to find a home with thrill-seeking adults. At least five total movies should earn at least $10 million or more this weekend, likely making it one of the busiest days of the summer at the box office.
Launching at more than 4,000 venues this weekend, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" looks to be the clear favorite to finish atop the charts, as the popular animated franchise has virtually no competition to speak of. While "Prometheus" will have to contend with "Snow White and the Huntsman," "Men in Black III" and "The Avengers," there hasn't been a major family release yet this summer, leaving the door wide open for "Madagascar 3" to have a big weekend. Also helping its overall outlook is strong critical support, giving parents some extra incentive to bring their kids to "Madagascar 3."
"Madagascar 3" also comes with a surprisingly strong built-in audience, which translated to plenty of ticket sales for the first two entries. Both prior "Madagascar" releases surpassed $180 million domestically and $500 million worldwide, with "Madagascar 2" putting up a very strong $63 million opening back in November of 2008. Though domestic numbers slowed for "Madagascar 2" following its opening, a mid-June release date for the third entry should help it bring in huge numbers until Pixar/Disney launches "Brave" in a couple weeks. Look for "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" to ride good reviews and great timing to a chart-topping opening near $70 million.
Aiming at a much different demographic this weekend will be "Prometheus," director Ridley Scott's unofficial prequel to his famous sci-fi-thriller "Alien." Though "Prometheus" tells an entirely different story than "Alien," fans of the 1979 classic have been buzzing about the project ever since it was greenlit a couple years ago. There will be some adults that check out one of the big-budget PG-13 options instead this weekend, but there should still be plenty of an audience left for "Prometheus."
Even with a sizable target audience, however, an R-rating does somewhat limit the overall potential of "Prometheus." No R-rated film has ever grossed $100 million or more opening weekend, with "The Matrix Reloaded" topping the all-time list with $91 million back in the early 2000s. At 3,300 total venues this weekend, roughly 300 less than "The Matrix Reloaded," "Prometheus" should be able to put together a big opening in the neighborhood of $58 to $64 million, which probably won't be enough to finish ahead of "Madagascar 3."
As "Prometheus" takes away a significant chunk of the action-seeking demographic, younger teens will likely turn to "Snow White and the Huntsman" in its second weekend in theaters. "Snow White" put up a very solid $56 million opening a week ago and has seen steady daily numbers all week, which is a good sign moving forward. With a second weekend in the $25 to $30 million range, "Snow White" should be able to eclipse $100 million in the U.S. to give it a decent 10-day total for distributor Universal.
The weekend will also likely be the last in the top ten for Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows," which is looking like one of the biggest busts of the summer. "Dark Shadows" has barely surpassed $70 million domestically as it heads into its fifth weekend in theaters, a disappointing total for a $150 million production starring Johnny Depp. Though foreign numbers have helped push its worldwide total close to $200 million, expectations were considerably higher for the Warner Brother release.
Next weekend, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Russell Brand headline "Rock of Ages," a PG-13 musical looking to ride the popularity of 1980s hair bands to the top of the box office charts. Adam Sandler's R-rated comedy "That's My Boy" will also hit theaters, with Sandler teaming up with Saturday Night Live cast member Andy Samberg.
RTT Box Office Predictions for 6/8/12 - 6/10/12 (In Millions):
1. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (Paramount/Dreamworks): $72
2. Prometheus (Fox): $62
3. Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal): $25
4. Men in Black III (Sony/Columbia): $14
5. The Avengers (Disney): $12
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight): $3
7. Battleship (Universal): $2.4
8. The Dictator (Paramount): $2.4
9. What to Expect When You're Expecting (Lionsgate): $2.3
10. Dark Shadows (Warner Brothers): $1.8
by RTT Staff Writer
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