"Madagascar 3" cruises to North America box office win

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:20pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The third animated "Madagascar" film stampeded past sci-fi thriller "Prometheus" to top U.S. and Canadian box office charts with nearly $60.4 million in ticket sales over the weekend.

"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" also performed well in its debut in 28 international markets, bringing global ticket sales to $135.8 million in its opening weekend, according to distributor Paramount Pictures.

Anne Globe, chief marketing officer with the film's production company DreamWorks Animation, said the family-friendly movie attracted many young viewers with over a quarter of tickets sold for children under 12 years of age and more than half its total audiences comprised of viewers under 25.

The "Madagascar" franchise about the wacky misadventures of escaped zoo animals has grossed more than $1 billion around the world since the first film debuted in 2005.

Paramount had projected a $45 million U.S. and Canadian opening for "Madagascar 3," and it roundly beat that forecast. But the new sequel's debut fell slightly short of the last "Madagascar" movie, which opened in November 2008 with $63 million from U.S. and Canadian theaters.

Still, it has received more critical praise than the previous two "Madagascar" films, racking up a 76-percent positive rating on critic aggregation site Rottentomatoes.com.

When asked about the possibility of a fourth installment in the series, Globe said DreamWorks was too busy enjoying its current success to give much thought to the future.

"It's too early to tell. There hasn't been a lot of discussion about that," she said.   Continued...

Directors Tom McGrath (L), Conrad Vernon and Eric Darnell (R) arrive for the premiere of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted", in New York June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly