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Box Office Update 11/7-11/9: Madagascar 2 Escapes to the Top

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As expected, Dreamworks' latest animated feature climbed to the top of the box office heap in what can be termed a decisive victory. Its opening weekend gross is more than triple that of its nearest competitor. It may not be the best example of the genre, but it does show that families are thirsty for entertainment and the Chihuahua craze has run its course. The fact that it is a sequel to a generally well received film just makes the family choice that much easier.

The tale of zoo animals loose in Africa flew to the top of the charts on the strength of numerous sold out shows and a final tally north of $63 million. Its gross came in $16 million more than its predecessor did in the summer of 2005. With no new competition on the family front next week I would expect it to hold strong until Disney's Bolt arrives on November 21.

The nearest competition for our leading animated film is the R-rated comedy Role Models. The Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott team-up returned a surprisingly potent $19 million. Frankly, I did not think it had the strength for such an opening. Well, the film was actually better than I expected, so I guess that has to count for something.

One other new release landed on the top ten chart, Soul Men. Unfortunately, despite this being a very funny film, it did not open all that strongly, scratching out a sixth place finish. This film features the duo of Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac in a road movie that vaguely reminded me of The Blues Brothers. It has some fun musical numbers and some of the most poetic uses of profanity on screen this year. This is one to see before it disappears.

Overall this weekend's box office held pretty strong as the returning films suffered small dips. Clint Eastwood's true crime drama Changeling led the way with a dip of merely 22%. What made me the happiest was Zack and Miri Make a Porno doing quite well in its second weekend out. It looks likely to end up being Kevin Smith's most profitable movie to date, and that is not a bad thing.

Next week sees only one new movie going wide but it is a big one. The highly anticipated new James Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace, hits theaters nationwide. This is sure to be a big hit as evidenced by the $160 million it has already made internationally. I think the bigger question now is if it will become the biggest opening Bond film. That title is currently held by Die Another Day with its $47 million open. Beyond that, will it over take Casino Royale and become the biggest moneymaker (unadjusted for inflation) of the series? It has to top $167 million.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (11), Max Payne (12), and Pride and Glory (16).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $63,106,589 $63,106,589 1
2 N Role Models $19,167,085 $19,167,085 1
3 1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year $9,159,523 $75,573,993 3
4 4 Changeling $7,252,940 $20,559,497 3
5 2 Zack and Miri Make a Porno $6,274,530 $20,686,907 2
6 N Soul Men $5,401,605 $5,401,605 1
7 3 Saw V $4,067,071 $52,187,337 3
8 5 The Haunting of Molly Hartley $3,318,694 $10,063,348 2
9 7 The Secret Life of Bees $3,089,467 $29,902,363 4
10 9 Eagle Eye $2,541,602 $96,348,829 7

Box Office Predictions Recap

This week wasn't all that great. At the same time it was not all that terrible either. It was one of those weeks that just was. Madagascar outdid my (and many others') expectations as did Role Models, which nearly doubled my expectations. On the other hand Soul Men failed to rise as high as I was expecting. On the whole, the box office held pretty steady and fell within the general area of the majority of my expectations.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $63,106,589 $52 million
6 2 Soul Men $5,401,605 $12.5 million

2

3 Role Models $19,167,085 $10 million
3 4 High School Musical 3: Senior Year $9,159,523 $7.5 million
5 5 Zack and Miri Make a Porno $6,274,530 $6.5 million
4 6 Changeling $7,252,940 $6 million
7 7 Saw V $4,067,071 $5 million
11 8 Beverly Hills Chihuahua $2,518,049 $3 million
8 9 The Haunting of Molly Hartley $3,318,694 $2.5 million
9 10 The Secret Life of Bees $3,089,467 $2 million

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