'Madagascar 3' Outduels 'Prometheus'

"Prometheus" took Friday night's box office crown by a mere million dollars, but it couldn't sustain enough momentum to hold off the family dollar, as "Madagascar 3" struck back to win Saturday and Sunday, clinching the overall weekend title. "Prometheus" remained shrouded in controversy, with some fans loving the mysterious prequel, while others quite validly asked, "what does this all add up to?" Going forward, that "B" score for "Prometheus" could very well indicate lesser word-of-mouth and box-office staying power. Conversely, though "Madagascar 3" didn't open as well as "Madagascar 2," the film is drawing positive reviews and looks primed to challenge the series record of $603m (worldwide). On the actor front, Charlize Theron almost pulled off the rare "consecutive wins with different films" trick that Chris Hemsworth managed last weekend.

The weekend itself was also shaping up to be extremely positive for studios, the fourth biggest of 2012, and, if "Prometheus" holds on, it will be the first time this year two films have crossed the $50m mark together. Also scoring was Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which jumped into the top ten with less than 100 theaters. "Moonrise Kingdom" managed over $16,000 dollars per theater, which was more than "Prometheus" or "Madagascar 3," portending well for the film once it goes wide. Further down the indie chart, "Safety Not Guaranteed" and "Lola Versus" put up very respectable per theater averages for the limited screenings that were available.

Next weekend should be complete pandemonium, as "Rock of Ages" and "That's My Boy" vie with "Madagascar 3" for the title. Adam Sandler films generally have an opening maximum of around $40m, and musicals generally have a tough time drawing more than $35m, which means families could again rule at the box office, especially given "Madagascar 2's" second weekend was precisely $35m. Are we in for another Friday-Saturday switcheroo? We'll find out next Sunday!

Here are the estimated totals for the top ten over the three-day weekend, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

1. "Madagascar 3" - $60.4m

2. "Prometheus" - $50.0m (our review)

3. "Snow White and the Huntsman" - $23.0m (our review)

4. "Men in Black 3" - $13.5m (our review)

5. "Marvel's The Avengers" - $10.8m (our review)

6. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" - $3.2m (our review)

7. "What To Expect When You're Expecting" - $2.7m

8. "Battleship" - $2.3m (our review)

9. "Moonrise Kingdom" - $1.6m (our review)

10. "Dark Shadows" - $1.4m (our review)