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'Prometheus' All-Star Cast Beaten by 'Most Wanted' Animals

Madagascar 3: movie toys Europe's Most Wanted
Madagascar 3 movie: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

June 10, '12, update: Weekend box office: The Prometheus movie monsters have been beaten by Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted's cuddly talking animals. And if studio estimates are accurate, Prometheus was – surprisingly – more than $10 million behind Madagascar 3.

Assisted by outstanding business at 298 (costlier) IMAX locations (18 percent of the film's box office total) and 3D surcharges, Ridley Scott's Prometheus took in $50 million (including $3.56 million from Thursday midnight screenings) at 3,396 North American locations, versus Madagascar 3's 3D-assisted $60.35 million at 4,258 venues. Those box office estimates are found at Box Office Mojo.

Prometheus' weekend gross is the twelfth highest ever for an R-rated movie. That is, if you pretend something called inflation doesn't exist. It's also worth noting that 54 percent of Prometheus' box office take came from 3D houses vs. 45 percent of the Madagascar 3 gross.

Madagascar 3 box office: Impressive debut

Madagascar 3's North American debut is impressive any way you look it, especially considering that, as Ray Subers points out at Box Office Mojo, animated sequels haven't been faring all that well at the domestic box office. For instance, despite inflation, both Happy Feet Two and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked opened last year to around half as much as their predecessors.

Subers also notes that Madagascar 3 was lucky in that 2012 hasn't offered any major “family movies” (read: movies for children that adults are coerced, forced, compelled, feel obligated to attend) since Dr. Seuss' The Lorax in early March. Internationally, Madagascar 3 raked in $75.5 million, for a worldwide total of $135.85 million. The animated feature was officially budgeted at $145 million.

Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon, and written by Darnell and Fantastic Mr. Fox's Noah Baumbach, Madagascar 3 features the voices of Little Fockers' Ben Stiller, Friends' David Schwimmer, Grown Ups' Chris Rock, The Dictator's Sacha Baron Cohen, The Matrix Reloaded's Jada Pinkett Smith, The Tree of Life's Jessica Chastain, Moonrise Kingdom's Frances McDormand, Standby Lovers' Paz Vega, Shrek's Chris Miller, Rock of Ages' Bryan Cranston, Frankenweenie's Martin Short, Tom McGrath, and Andy Richter.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted picture: DreamWorks Animation / Paramount Pictures.

Prometheus movie Michael Fassbender android DavidPrometheus movie a bona fide hit? (Image: Michael Fassbender as the android David.) Is Ridley Scott's Prometheus movie an unqualified box office success in North America? Well, I'd say not exactly.

True, the R-rated Prometheus took in an estimated $50 million this weekend, whereas 20th Century Fox has claimed they were expecting (an absurdly modest) $30m-$35 million. In fact, most box office prognosticators were predicting that Prometheus would debut with about $55 million. Additionally, reviews have been generally positive, as Ridley Scott's horror sci-fier has a 73 percent approval rating and 7.4/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics – something that should have led to fat box office receipts.

And then there's the “brand recognition.” Though some may claim Prometheus is an “original” sci-fier, it's not – at all. Murky at first, the Alien connection has become patently clear in the last several months.

Box Office: Prometheus movie vs. Inception, Super 8, Snow White and the Huntsman

For comparison's sake: back in July 2010, Christopher Nolan / Leonardo DiCaprio's PG-13-rated sci-fier Inception, for all purposes an “original” concept, debuted with $62.8m. Here's a second comparison to another “original” PG-13-rated sci-fier: a year ago, J.J. Abrams' Super 8 opened with $35.5 million at 3,379 locations. So, does that mean Prometheus was much more successful than Super 8?

Well, bear in mind that Super 8 was a 2D $50 million-budgeted movie whose biggest star was Elle Fanning. Take out the 3D surcharges and Prometheus' gross goes down to about $43.25. Take out the IMAX surcharges and Prometheus won't be that far ahead of Super 8 in terms of domestic ticket sales.

A prequel of sorts to Ridley Scott / Sigourney Weaver's 1979 classic Alien, Prometheus reportedly cost $120-$130 million after tax incentives, or more than twice the Super 8 budget. And remember that unlike Super 8, Scott's Prometheus movie boasts several mid-level stars, including X-Men: First Class' Michael Fassbender, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' Noomi Rapace, and Snow White and the Huntsman's Charlize Theron.

A final comparison: Last weekend, Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman truly surpassed expectations when it opened with $56.21 million in North America. Starring Charlize Theron, Breaking Dawn - Part 2's Kristen Stewart, and The Avengers' Chris Hemsworth, the 2D action fantasy sold many more tickets than Prometheus despite much poorer reviews and, as far as movies are concerned, an “original” concept. (In that SWATH is neither a prequel nor a sequel.) Admittedly, SWATH was rated PG-13 and screened at about 400 more locations; yet, the film's opening-weekend box office performance was truly impressive. (Somewhat ironically, Snow White and the Huntsman's second weekend was a disappointment.)

As to be expected for a 3D “action” film, Prometheus is performing better overseas, where it has already grossed $91.5 million. Its current worldwide total is $141.5 million.

Box Office: Prometheus vs. Alien

As mentioned in my previous Prometheus movie box office post, reliable comparisons to the original Alien are impossible to make for now:

  • Alien opened in limited release – 91 locations – in late May 1979.
  • By the time it went into wide release in late June, Alien had already taken in $14.92 million (approx. $47 million today)
  • A wide release in 1979 meant, in Alien's case, a maximum of 757 venues. (Note: movie houses were larger in those days.)

And remember that about 100 million fewer people lived in North America back then and that Alien didn't have the advantage of 3D/IMAX surcharges.

Alien went on to earn $80.93 million (approx. $255 million in 2012 dollars) in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to approximately $24 million abroad as per figures. If the international figures are accurate, that means Alien bombed in the United Kingdom, scoring a meager $141k vs. $4.72 million in France and $4.46 million in Japan. Back in those days, Russia/the Soviet Union and China weren't Hollywood markets, while Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea were considerably smaller markets.

Prometheus was written by The Darkest Hour's Jon Spaihts and Cowboys & Aliens' Damon Lindelof (who may end up rewriting Brad Pitt's World War Z). Besides Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and Charlize Theron, the Prometheus cast includes Memento's Guy Pearce, Across the Universe's Logan Marshall-Green, and Pacific Rim's Idris Elba, plus Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie, and Patrick Wilson.

Prometheus movie / Michael Fassbender as the android David picture: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.

June 9 p.m.

Prometheus Michael Fassbender
Prometheus: Michael Fassbender / android David

Box office: Prometheus movie, Madagascar 3 in a dead heat. Assisted by outstanding business at IMAX locations and 3D surcharges, Ridley Scott's Prometheus is off to a remarkably strong start at 3,396 theaters in North America. Slightly behind on Friday, another 3D-assisted movie, the animated feature Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, will likely top the weekend at 4,258 locations.

Including $3.56 million from Thursday midnight screenings, the R-rated Prometheus grossed $21.4 million on Friday as per studio estimates. That's the tenth highest opening day ever for an R-rated movie – if you pretend something called inflation doesn't exist.

Additionally, that's slightly more than the Kristen Stewart / Charlize Theron / Chris Hemsworth 2D, PG-13 adventure fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman's $20.46 million (including a considerably more modest $1.38 million at midnight screenings) at 3,773 locations last week. Both movies have about the same running time (i.e., about the same number of shows per day).

Since Friday grosses were a little above early estimates (see further below) released last night, Prometheus should reach $55-57 million by Sunday evening, thus ending a little behind Madagascar 3's $58-60 million after earning an estimated $20.45 million on Friday. For comparison's sake: back in July 2010, Christopher Nolan / Leonardo DiCaprio's PG-13-rated sci-fier Inception debuted with $62.8 million after grossing $3 million at midnight screenings, while Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa took in $63.1 million when it opened in Nov. 2009.

Prometheus, a prequel of sorts to Ridley Scott / Sigourney Weaver's 1979 sci-fi / horror classic Alien, reportedly cost $120-$130 million after rebates / tax incentives, which sounds like a very modest budget for such an epic sci-fier.

Box Office: Prometheus vs. Alien

For now, box office comparisons to the original Alien are impossible to make for several reasons:

  • Alien opened in limited release – 91 locations – in late May 1979.
  • By the time it went into wide release in late June, Alien had already taken in $14.92 million (approx. $47 million today)
  • A wide release in 1979 meant, in Alien's case, a maximum of 757 venues.
  • Movie houses were bigger in those days. (And bear in mind that about 100 million fewer people lived in North America back then and that Alien didn't have the advantage of 3D/IMAX surcharges.)

Ultimately, Alien grossed $80.93 million (approx. $255 million in 2012 dollars) in North America, in addition to approximately $24 million abroad as per figures found at Box Office Mojo. (If accurate, that means Alien bombed in the United Kingdom, collecting a paltry $141k vs. $4.72 million in France and $4.46 million in Japan. Back in those days, Russia/the Soviet Union and China weren't Hollywood markets, while Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico were much, much smaller markets.)

Prometheus was written by The Darkest Hour's Jon Spaihts and Cowboys & Aliens' Damon Lindelof (who'll be rewriting Brad Pitt's World War Z). In the Prometheus cast: Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' Noomi Rapace, Hancock's Charlize Theron, Memento's Guy Pearce, Across the Universe's Logan Marshall-Green, Pacific Rim's Idris Elba, The Borgias' Sean Harris, Anonymous' Rafe Spall, Somers Town's Kate Dickie, and Insidious' Patrick Wilson.

Madagascar 3 features the voices of Little Fockers' Ben Stiller, Friends' David Schwimmer, Grown Ups' Chris Rock, The Dictator's Sacha Baron Cohen, The Matrix Reloaded's Jada Pinkett Smith, The Help's Jessica Chastain, Fargo's Frances McDormand, Paz Vega, Chris Miller, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Tom McGrath, and Andy Richter.

Prometheus film / Michael Fassbender as the android David picture: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.

Kristen Stewart Snow White and the HuntsmanBox Office: Snow White and the Huntsman (photo, Kristen Stewart). Trailing both Ridley Scott / Michael Fassbender / Noomi Rapace's Prometheus and the 3D animated feature Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman took in $7.5 million on Friday in North America as per studio estimates. That's down a hefty 63 percent compared to its opening day a week ago.

Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Sam Claflin, Snow White and the Huntsman was expected to reach $26 million for the weekend, thus passing the $100 million milestone in North America after only 10 days. Now it remains unclear whether or not SWATH will reach that mark by Sunday evening, as its Friday gross was about 8 percent less than early estimates indicated.

On the positive side, Snow White and the Huntsman was up 84 percent on Friday compared to the day before. Apart from the expanded Moonrise Kingdom, that was by far the highest surge among the top twelve movies. In other words, a Friday-to-Saturday surge that could propel SWATH to the other side of the $100 million mark isn't impossible. Cume after eight days: $82.97 million.

A curiosity: two Snow White and the Huntsman performers have two movies among the top five on the North American box office chart. Charlize Theron's other box office winner is Prometheus; Chris Hemsworth's is The Avengers. See below.

At no. 4, Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones / Josh Brolin's Men in Black III raked in $4.2 million, and is expected to collect $14 million for the weekend. The Avengers was next in line with $3.25 million on Friday and about $13 million by Sunday evening. Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers features Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Hiddleston.

The Hunger Games to pass $400 million milestone

Rounding out the top twelve movies on the North American box office chart were the following: Judi Dench / Maggie Smith's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with $935,000, Jennifer Lopez / Cameron Diaz's What to Expect When You're Expecting with $915,000, Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator with $704,000, and Taylor Kitsch / Rihanna / Brooklyn Decker's Battleship with $684,000.

Also: Wes Anderson / Edward Norton's Moonrise Kingdom with $485,000 at 96 locations and a solid $4,740 per theater; Tim Burton / Johnny Depp / Michelle Pfeiffer's Dark Shadows with $410,000; and Jennifer Lawrence / Liam Hemsworth / Josh Hutcherson's The Hunger Games with $322,000. Currently with a cume of $399.52 million, The Hunger Games will pass the $400 million milestone either later today or on Sunday.

At four theaters, Lola Versus scored a so-so $8,900 for a per-theater average of $2,225. Directed by Daryl Wein, Lola Versus features Greta Gerwig, Bill Pullman, Joel Kinnaman, and three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger (An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, Shadowlands).

Figures were unavailable for the following limited releases:

Snow White and the Huntsman / Kristen Stewart as Snow White picture: Alex Bailey / Universal Pictures.

June 9 early morning

Prometheus film
Prometheus film

Box office: Prometheus movie vs. Madagascar 3. Assisted by savvy marketing, excellent business at IMAX locations, and 3D surcharges, Ridley Scott's Prometheus, a prequel of sorts to Scott's 1979 sci-fi / horror classic Alien, is off to a strong start at 3,396 theaters in North America. Slightly behind on Friday, the 3D-propelled animated feature Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is expected to top the weekend at 4,258 locations.

Including $3.56 million at Thursday midnight screenings, the R-rated Prometheus is expected to gross $21 million on Friday as per Deadline.com. That's slightly more than the Kristen Stewart / Charlize Theron / Chris Hemsworth 2D, PG-13 adventure fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman's $20.46 million (including a more modest $1.38 million at midnight screenings) at 3,773 locations last week. Both movies have about the same running time.

As per Deadline, Prometheus is expected to reach $55 million by Sunday evening, thus ending a little behind Madagascar 3's expected $58 million after earning $19.5 million on Friday. For comparison's sake: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa took in $63.1 million when it opened in Nov. 2009. Back in July 2010, Christopher Nolan / Leonardo DiCaprio's PG-13-rated sci-fier Inception debuted with $62.8 million after grossing $3 million at midnight screenings.

Prometheus box office: Way underestimated by Fox

Deadline.com adds that 20th Century Fox had been expecting Prometheus to open with $30m-$35 million. If that's true (and that's highly doubtful), Fox should get better box-office-tracking analysts. At Box Office Mojo, for instance, Ray Subers predicted $55.5m; Exhibitor Relations expects $57 million; and Box Office Guru predicted $47 million.

Prometheus reportedly cost $120-$130 million after rebates / tax incentives, which sounds like a relatively modest budget for such a grandiose sci-fier.

At no. 3 on Friday was Snow White and the Huntsman with an estimated $8 million. The Rupert Sanders-directed fantasy is expected to gross $26 million over the weekend, down about 52 percent compared to last week. If those estimates are accurate, SWATH's drop-off rate will be a little steep; even so, $26 million will be enough for the film to reach the $100 million milestone in North America after only 10 days. Besides Stewart, Theron, and Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman features Sam Claflin, Toby Jones, and Bob Hoskins.

Rounding out the top five movies are Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones / Josh Brolin's Men in Black III with $4 million on Friday and $14 million for the weekend. The Avengers is next in line with $3.5 million on Friday and $13.5 million by Sunday evening.

Remember, those are early rough estimates. Official studio estimates will be released Saturday morning. Weekend estimates come out Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals will be available on Monday.

In limited release: Jane Fonda, Robert Pattinson, Chace Crawford

Also opening in limited release this weekend are Bruce Beresford's Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, with two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, Chace Crawford, Catherine Keener, and Jeffrey Dean; Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's Bel Ami, starring Breaking Dawn - Part 2's Robert Pattinson, and Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci as the women in his life; and Colin Trevorrow' time-traveling comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass.

Prometheus was written by The Darkest Hour's Jon Spaihts and Cowboys & Aliens' Damon Lindelof. In the Prometheus cast: Jane Eyre's Michael Fassbender, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Noomi Rapace, Monster's Charlize Theron, L.A. Confidential's Guy Pearce, Across the Universe's Logan Marshall-Green, Pacific Rim's Idris Elba, The Borgias' Sean Harris, Anonymous' Rafe Spall, Somers Town's Kate Dickie, and Little Children's Patrick Wilson.

Madagascar 3 features the voices of Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jessica Chastain, Paz Vega, Chris Miller, Bryan Cranston, Frances McDormand, Martin Short, Tom McGrath, and Andy Richter.

The Avengers cast includes Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Hiddleston.

Prometheus film picture: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.

June 8

Prometheus movie Ridley Scott Noomi Rapace
Prometheus movie: Ridley Scott, Noomi Rapace

Prometheus movie box office: Ridley Scott's Prometheus, a sort of prequel to Scott's 1979 sci-fi / horror classic Alien, is off to a solid start at the North American box office. At 1,368 theaters, Prometheus took in $3.56 million, which is more than twice the midnight box office take of the Kristen Stewart / Charlize Theron / Chris Hemsworth adventure fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman ($1.38 million at 1,092 venues) and the Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones / Josh Brolin adventure comedy Men in Black III ($1.55 million at 2,232 venues).

Note: Prometheus, like Men in Black III, has the advantage of box-office-boosting 3D surcharges. Also worth noting, Prometheus earned $1.03M from 294 (costlier) IMAX screens. That's nearly a third of the film's midnight box office take.

Back in July 2010, another sci-fier, Christopher Nolan's Inception, debuted with $62.8 million after grossing $3 million at midnight screenings. So, will Prometheus open to more than $60 million? Well, comparisons between Inception and Prometheus are a little tricky for several reasons:

  • Inception wasn't a horror movie; horror movies do well at late-night screenings, as people apparently enjoy watching nightmarish images before going to sleep
  • Inception was rated PG-13; Prometheus is rated R
  • Inception featured a major box office draw, Leonardo DiCaprio; Prometheus doesn't have one stand-out star
  • Inception was released in regular format (2D); Prometheus is in 3D. (Obviously, this last difference works to Prometheus' advantage.)

Box Office: Prometheus vs. Madagascar 3

Although Prometheus seems poised to gross at least $50 million this weekend, whether or not it'll land in the top spot at the domestic box office remains unclear. Its competitor is the animated feature Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, screening at 4,258 locations. (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa took in $63.1 million when it opened in Nov. 2009.) Prometheus will be playing at 3,394 sites.

Prometheus was written by The Darkest Hour's Jon Spaihts and Cowboys & Aliens' Damon Lindelof. In the Prometheus cast: X-Men: First Class' Michael Fassbender, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows' Noomi Rapace, Young Adult's Charlize Theron, Mildred Pierce's Guy Pearce, Across the Universe's Logan Marshall-Green, Pacific Rim's Idris Elba, The Borgias' Sean Harris, Anonymous' Rafe Spall, Somers Town's Kate Dickie, and Little Children's Patrick Wilson.

Ridley Scott, Noomi Rapace / Prometheus movie picture: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.

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2 Comments to 'Prometheus' All-Star Cast Beaten by 'Most Wanted' Animals

  1. zac

    @sds

    Well, I do say that SWATH is “original” only “In that SWATH is neither a prequel nor a sequel”…

  2. sds

    Snow White isn't an original story… -___-