The Avengers phenomenon aside, the box office story this summer had been how anemic the grosses have been overall, dragged down by high-profile calamities like Battleship and Dark Shadows, and underachievers like The Dictator. Men In Black 3 and the surprisingly robust Snow White And The Huntsman helped take the summer out of a tailspin, and this week saw two openers that did huge business without one siphoning viewers from another. After battling close to a draw on Friday, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted pulled ahead of Prometheus to win the weekend, taking $60.35 million to the latter film’s $50 million. We’re just going to presume the difference-maker was Noah Baumbach’s screenplay credit, which convinced the more jaded kids to stop defiling library books, pull their fathers away from grad students half their age, and go to the movies instead. Despite the challenges of a hard sci-fi premise, an R-rating, and the repeated endorsement of Stephen A. Smith, Prometheus did remarkably good business, enough to get Box Office Mojo to consider how it ranks among big openers that didn’t win the weekend. (It ranks #4 on the second-best list.)
In limited release, Moonrise Kingdom continued to top all movies in per screen average with $16,448 on 96 screens, which brought it into the Top 10 as it continues to mirror last summer’s Midnight In Paris phenomenon. Elsewhere, a rave in The New York Times—and some prominent champions in other publications, too—made Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse a winner in its exclusive showing at The Angelica in New York, with a clean $15,000 and solid-by-his-standards prospects going forward. The Aubrey Plaza-Mark Duplass sci-fi thingie Safety Not Guaranteed also did well, collecting $11,111 per screen on nine screens. The other contenders struggled to varying degrees, with the Greta Gerwig vehicle Lola Versus earning a feeble-by-Fox-Searchlight-standards $8,525 per screen on four screens and Peace, Love And Misunderstanding limping home at $3,400 per screen on 30 screens, despite the rare presence of Jane Fonda in a prominent role.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.