Madagascar 2 Escapes with $63 Million

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Nice Clean Movie Month continues at the Reject Report. Yes, for the umpteenth week in a row the weekend box office title belongs to yet another sweet family movie. Big surprise.

I really should have listened to the people who said that Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa would fly past the $60 mil mark, because that’s exactly what happened with the funny animals this weekend. $63 million smackeroos for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — much better than the $47 million the original pulled in during its opening weekend. Me, I only predicted $57 million, and it actually looked like this flick might do a little less than that after Friday’s totals came in. But Saturday’s haul went through the roof. It made $27 million on Saturday, so that settled that!

In fact, based on these estimates it looks like this Madagascar 2 flick was the biggest animated opening for the entire YEAR, ahead of the previous DreamWorks success Kung Fu Panda and yes, even ahead of WALL-E. That’s right, Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa actually beat WALL-E by a few hundred thousand! So don’t tell me that business is bad at Paramount. (By the way, Kung Fu Panda has just come out on DVD and should sell like hotcakes.)

As well, it was a weekend for positive Role Models, as they exceeded expectations with a $19 million haul. They also got some good reviews, which helped a lot. Unfortunately, not everyone can win at the box office, and Soul Men ended up being the weekend’s big loser of the new releases, at $5,610,000. But the story continues to be the utter domination of the Nice, Clean Movie at fall box offices. Madagascar 2 joins High School Musical 3 and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 1 (I added the “1”) as big winners at North American cash registers this fall.

Meanwhile, James Bond and Quantum of Solace continues to clean up elsewhere in the world for a second week in a row. It opened in 57 territories at Number One in the box office. In the UK, France and Sweden it maintained the top spot at theaters. Sony estimates the weekend haul in all of these countries is $106.5 million. You know what this means, of course: there will be an absolute stampede to the theaters this coming weekend in North America. All these James Bond fans are revved up after hearing the news of big business overseas for this flick, and so Daniel Craig and crew can expect some big crowds at cinemas in the USA and Canada.

That is all for next week, though. The damages from this weekend’s domestic box office:

1. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$63 million
2. Role Models$19.3 million
3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year $9.3 million
4. Changeling$7.2 million
5. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
$6.5 million
6. Soul Men
$5.6 million
7. Saw V$4.2 million
8. The Haunting of Molly Hartley$3.5 million
9. The Secret Life of Bees$3.2 million
10. Eagle Eye $2.6 million

You know, the summer usually has this big reputation for being blockbuster season, but this November is quickly turning into the new Summer. Of note: advance ticket sales for Twilight (based on the popular book series) have been through the roof. It rolls out Nov. 21, the same weekend as Bolt which also should do big business. Fandango Inc. has been saying it has sold out 100 performances already for Twilight and it accounts for 63 percent of its online sales. Even ahead of James Bond.

Looks like there is a lot to look forward to at these box offices this November. What, there’s a recession going on? Where?! Anyway, this is good news all around for the theaters because some of these weekend box office totals we have seen this fall have been dismal, to say the least. Last weekend was pretty brutal, but it’s sure changed for the better in a hurry. It’s truly been a feast-or-famine time at the theaters this whole fall season. The good news is that it looks like the feast has arrived, just in time for Thanksgiving.

So that does it for now. In our next Reject Report, Bond arrives again in America. See you then.