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Monday, November 10, 2008

'Madagascar 2' tops post-Election weekend with $63.5m, Nov. 7-9, 2008

With Americans still abuzz from Tuesday's historic and widely followed Presidential election, moviegoers opted to spend the weekend at the nation's cineplexes, with DreamWorks Animation's sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa leading the way with a potent $63.5 million debut. Universal's comedy Role Models debuted in a strong second with $19.3 million. Together the top two openers helped push the box office to an incredible 32% increase from last year's comparable frame.

DreamWorks Animation's computer-animated sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa posted the seventh biggest opening in history for an animated release, debuting with a massive $63.5 million this weekend. Launching in an ultrawide 4,056 theaters, the animated comedy averaged a hefty $15,656, edging past the $63.1 million debut of this summer's Wall-E as well as the $60.2 million debut of June's PDI/DreamWorks hit Kung Fu Panda for the biggest animated opening of 2008.

If estimates hold, the $63.5 million debut would be the fifth largest November bow in history, behind only 2004's The Incredibles ($70.5 million) and Harry Potter installments 1, 3 and 4. It also surpassed its 2005 predecessor Madagascar, which debuted with $47.2 million on its way to $193.2 million domestic. Given the original film's popularity internationally (the film made $531 million globally), look for a similarly strong total for this latest release.

Universal's R-rated buddy comedy Role Models debuted strongly in second with $19.3 million, surpassing most industry estimates for the film. Averaging a very strong $6,895 in 2,792 theaters, the Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd starrer was well-received by critics, and should experience a strong run theatrically.

Falling two spots to third was two-week champ High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which slipped 39% to $9.3 million. Budgeted at a modest $11 million, the Disney musical has now amassed $75.7 million, and could break $100 million domestically by the end of its run.

Angelina Jolie's Changeling slipped just 22% in its second weekend of wide release, finishing in fourth with $7.3 million. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the Universal release has now grossed $20.6 million. Look for the drama to finish with $40-45 million domestic.

Rounding out the top five was Kevin Smith's comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which slipped a scant 35% from its debut a week ago to gross $6.5 million this weekend. In ten days the Weinstein Co. release has grossed $20.9 million.

The MGM/Weinstein co-production Soul Men debuted poorly in sixth with $5.6 million, averaging just $2,750 in 2,044 theaters. Starring the late Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson, the poorly-reviewed R-rated comedy will most likely see a quick exit from the top ten.

Thanks to the massive debut from Madagascar 2 and the better than expected bow from Role Models, the top ten films grossed a hefty $124.9 million, up 32% from last year's comparable frame when DreamWorks' Bee Movie took over the top spot with $25.6 million.

Now that the box office is cranking, expect boffo business for the next installment in the Bond franchise, Quantum of Solace, which opens nationwide next weekend.

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