Madagascar Number 1 at the Box Office

Movie News | Jun 5th, 2005

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Yahoo: The cartoon critters of “Madagascar” ended the two-week reign of the final “Star Wars” movie at the North American box office on Sunday, while Russell Crowe’s acclaimed boxing movie “Cinderella Man” opened at a disappointing fourth.

“Madagascar” sold about $28.7 million worth of tickets for the three days beginning June 3, according to closely held DreamWorks SKG, which distributed the film on behalf of corporate sibling DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Its two-week total rose to $101 million.

The company’s stock fell 7 percent on Tuesday, the first day of trading after the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, amid investor disappointment with the film’s $61 million opening.

“Madagascar” reached the century mark five days earlier than the studio’s “Shark Tale” last fall and one day faster than the first “Shrek” in May 2001. The plot revolves around the residents of a zoo who break out and discover that life in the wild is not what they expected.

Paramount Pictures’ Adam Sandler comedy “The Longest Yard” also inched up one place in its second weekend, to No. 2, with $26.1 million. The 10-day total for the prison football remake stands at $95.8 million.

Close behind was 20th Century Fox’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” with $26.0 million for the weekend. It has earned $308.8 million to date, and hit $300 million in a record 17 days, beating last summer’s “Shrek 2” by one day. Fox expects it to hit $400 million, approaching the $431 million total of the 1999 “Star Wars” installment “The Phantom Menace.” The overseas total is $308.4 million, with the studio forecasting that haul to reach $500 million.

“Cinderella Man,” director Ron Howard’s study of Depression-era pugilist Jim Braddock, trailed at No. 4 with $18.6 million since opening on Friday. The $88 million picture was released by Universal Pictures, which had hoped it would hit $20 million.

“We had really believed that a human-interest story that was this well done … could have done a bit more,” said Universal Pictures Chairman Stacey Snider.

While disappointed, she hoped “Cinderella Man” would hold up throughout the summer, mirroring the movie’s own underdog story. In addition to Crowe, the movie stars Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti. Exit polling indicated the movie played to older audiences, while women made up a slim majority.

Two modestly budgeted new releases also reached theaters. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” a coming-of-age drama based on the Ann Brashares novel about a group of young women, opened at No. 5 with $10.3 million, which was within the expectations of its distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures. Its total, since opening on Wednesday, stands at $14 million. The cast includes TV actresses Amber Tamblyn and Alexis Bledel.

The skateboarding movie “Lords of Dogtown,” starring Heath Ledger, bowed at No. 6 with a disappointing $5.7 million. Distributor Columbia Pictures had hoped for an opening closer to $9 million.

Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Fox is a unit of News Corp. Universal Pictures is a unit of NBC Universal, which is majority owned by General Electric Co. Warner Bros. Pictures is a unit of Time Warner Inc. Columbia Pictures is a unit of Sony Corp (SNE.N).