"Madagascar 3" romps over Cruise, Sandler films

Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:37pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The animals of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" held the top spot on U.S. and Canadian box office charts for a second straight weekend with $35.5 million, beating new films from Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The third "Madagascar" movie about the misadventures of escaped zoo animals lifted the animated family film above new release "Rock of Ages," a 1980s-era musical starring Cruise that was No. 3, and comedy "That's My Boy," which landed with a thud at No. 5 in what box office watchers said was the worst opening for a live-action Sandler movie since 1996's "Happy Gilmore."

In "Madagascar 3," the animals - voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and others - run into trouble after joining a European traveling circus. The movie, produced by Dreamworks Animation, has pulled in $120.5 million in domestic theaters since its release a week ago.

Director Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller "Prometheus," the story of explorers who discover a clue to the origins of mankind, pulled in $20.2 million to finish second. Its total ticket sales after two weeks is now roughly $89 million.

"That's My Boy," an R-rated comedy pairing Sandler with fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Andy Samberg, who plays the son of Sandler's deadbeat dad character, failed to excite fans and had a take of $13 million. It cost about $65 million to make, a source familiar with the production said, and was released by Columbia Pictures.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com, said the film's R rating, which restricts it to audiences 17 years of age and older, was likely a key factor in the film's poor performance in its debut weekend.

"Even though Sandler keeps getting older, his key constituency is still in the sweet spot of the PG-13 rating and remain his key demographic," Dergarabedian said.

In 1996, Sandler's golf movie "Happy Gilmore" turned in roughly $8.5 million in its debut and went on to make only $38.8 million in domestic theaters, according to Boxofficemojo.com.   Continued...

Cast member Jada Pinkett Smith (L) arrives for the premiere of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" with daughter Willow Camille Reign Smith and husband actor Will Smith (R), in New York June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly