Weekend Box Office: Animals Over Aliens

This weekend’s box office defied expectations. Neither of the two new openers ended where predictions placed them. Even so, the weekend was up 30% from last summer.

I never believed (despite the studio predictions) that the R-rated sci-fi/horror thriller ‘Prometheus‘ would finish in the #1 spot – and it didn’t. The dull 3D kid’s movie ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted‘ nabbed first place instead with $60.3 million. That’s less than $3 million behind 2008’s ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’. As the first kids’ movie since ‘The Lorax’, the threequel was certain to win big.

Ridley Scott’s return to the ‘Alien‘ universe didn’t earn the $55.5 million that Fox expected it to, but its $50 million second-place finish was quite strong for an R-rated science fiction film. The only problem I see plaguing the ‘Alien’ prequel is the divided and polarized audience reaction. While some view this opening as a failure, it’s still the biggest opening of the ‘Alien’ franchise and the 12th all-time highest opening for an R-rated movie. Follow-ups are certain.

Last week’s top movie, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘, dropped a staggering 59%. ‘Men in Black 3‘ also fell 52%. Rounding out the Top 5 in its sixth weekend was ‘The Avengers‘. At this rate, by the end of next weekend, ‘The Avengers’ should pass $600 million domestically.

Hippie family dramedy ‘Peace, Love and Misunderstanding‘ featured a decent opening with $102,000 on 30 screens. ‘Safety Not Guaranteed‘ did exceptionally well with a $100,000 opening on just nine screens. That $11,111 per-screen average should boost FilmDistrict’s confidence as the movie gets a platform release over the next few weeks. ‘Lola Versus‘ also opened quite strong with $34,100 on just four screens.

Top 10:

1. ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ (Paramount/DreamWorks) – $60,350,000

2. ‘Prometheus’ (Fox) – $50,000,000

3. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (Universal) – $23,021,000

4. ‘Men in Black 3’ (Sony) – $13,500,000

5. ‘The Avengers’ (Buena Vista) – $10,809,000

6. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ (Fox Searchlight) – $3,235,000

7. ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ (Lionsgate) – $2,710,000

8. ‘Battleship’ (Universal) – $2,286,000

9. ‘The Dictator’ (Paramount) – $2,150,000

10. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Focus) – $1,579,000


  1. Ben

    It should be said that the predictions you use aren’t based off studio projections but are Box Office Mojo’s predictions for the weekend. Studios notoriously temper their projections to avoid public embarrassment, for example, they projected a mid 30 million opening for Prometheus, and the same thing happened to Snow White and the Huntsman.

    This movie is not going to have very good legs at all probably considering the polarizing word of mouth. Would not be surprised to see sub 120 million domestically, but since the movie was made for a modest 120-130 million (impressive really), Fox will probably attempt a sequel. Hopefully Lindelof stays away

  2. Alexws

    When you say that Prometheus is the biggest opener in the Alien franchise, have you adjusted for inflation or production cost? If not I think it has little bearing whether or not it made more money than much older movies. Because as long as our money keeps devaluating, some day any new movie will bring in more dollars than the old Alien movies.

  3. Drew

    There’s no way ‘The Avengers’ hits 600 million by the end of next weekend. It’s barely over 570 million now. It will make a million and change during the weekdays, and then maybe 6 million next weekend. Do the math.

  4. JM

    Don’t forget ‘Prometheus’s secret profits.

    It will inflate the sales of all the movies, games, novels, comics, etc… for the next three years.

    Sequels are usually timed to push the backlist.

  5. Shannon Nutt

    Yeah, considering it’s modest (for a Hollywood tentpole) budget and the fact that it’s an R-rated movie, Prometheus had a nice showing…I don’t expect it to have a huge falloff either…at least until the 4th of July.

  6. JM

    3-hour director’s cut of ‘The Avengers’ released in theaters this August might boost its box office to #1.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *