Animated ensemble beats out ’80s metal flick ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘That’s My Boy.’
By Ryan J. Downey
‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’
Neither nostalgia for ’80s hair metal nor a team-up of former “SNL” castmembers could overcome a bunch of homesick zoo animals at the box office over the weekend.
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” was the #1 movie in America for a second weekend in a row, as families celebrated Father’s Day with the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer to the tune of another $35.5 million. But both of the weekend’s big new studio pics, “Rock of Ages” and “That’s My Boy,” underperformed, leaving the #2 slot for “Prometheus” to claim for a second consecutive week. The (sort of) “Alien” prequel took in another $20.2 million.
As a group of industry experts predicted to MTV News last week, the weekend looked something like June 25–27, 2010, when an animated threequel held on to the top spot against new movies from A-listers Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler. Two years ago, it was “Knight and Day” and “Grown Ups.” This time it was Cruise (with an ensemble) in the $75 million movie “Rock of Ages,” which debuted at #3 with just $15.1 million, and Sandler in “That’s My Boy,” which was #5 with $13 million.
“Madagascar 3” has outperformed both “Madagascar” and “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” with its 10-day total of $120 million. “Prometheus” has made $88.9 million since it was released, even as audiences, critics and fans continue to debate its plot (and its co-writer spilled some of its secrets to MTV News).
Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which incorporated ’80s hair-metal anthems from groups like Def Leppard and Poison, “Rock of Ages” boasts an ensemble that includes Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones and 2012 MTV Movie Awards host Russell Brand, but it failed to excite critics or audiences. As Box Office Mojo pointed out on Sunday, previous summer musicals like “Mamma Mia!” and “Hairspray” enjoyed much stronger openings. Cruise’s “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” did fantastic business when it opened in December of last year. This December, he’ll return in the similarly action-oriented “Jack Reacher.”
Sandler saw his worst opening ever with “That’s My Boy,” which teamed the comedian with Andy Samberg in the R-rated father-and-son comedy. Film critics often reject Sandler’s movies (with a few notable exceptions, like the brainier “Punch Drunk Love”), and their reaction to “That’s My Boy” was no different. Of course, they were even more harsh to “Jack and Jill,” which still managed to make $74.1 million domestically. “That’s My Boy” doesn’t look likely to make anywhere close to that. Sandler, who made some of his earliest appearances on MTV’s “Remote Control” before breaking out on “Saturday Night Live,” will co-star in “Grown Ups 2” next summer. Samberg, who just left “Saturday Night Live” after the conclusion of the most recent season, recently signed on to a new series on the BBC called “Cuckoo.”
The #4 slot at the box office belonged to “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which debuted at #1 three weeks ago. The darker, more action-oriented take on the classic tale starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth made $13.8 million over the weekend for a $122.6 million total. Speaking of Hemsworth, the year’s biggest box-office juggernaut (in which he costars as the hammer-wielding Asgardian hero Thor) took in another $8.8 million. “Marvel’s The Avengers” has made $586.7 domestically. Hemsworth, of course, will return in “Thor 2” and appears to be set for the recently green-lit sequel to “Huntsman” as well.
Of course it wasn’t all big-studio pictures about cartoon animals, aliens, fictitious rock stars and “SNL” veterans in theaters over the weekend. “Your Sister’s Sister” debuted with $117,000 — a strong $9,000-per-screen average in just 13 locations. “Safety Not Guaranteed,” starring “Parks and Recreation” comedienne Aubrey Plaza, made $6,200 per screen as it expanded to 47 theaters. “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” remained in the top 10 despite playing in a quarter of the locations of “Rock of Ages.” The Fox Searchlight film has made $35 million since it was released nearly two months ago. Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” now in 178 theaters, has made $2.2 million.
Next weekend’s new releases include the latest from Disney/Pixar, “Brave”; the film adaptation of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”; Steve Carrell’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”; and in limited release, Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love”; and the incredibly well-reviewed drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”