Clapboard: Madagascar Roars to Top

LOS ANGELES ~ Animated animal comedy Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa galloped to the top of the North American weekend box office, final industry figures showed.

The Dreamworks’ movie, with Hollywood stars such as Ben Stiller and Chris Rock providing the voices for the wise-cracking zoo animals, earned US$63.1 million in its premier weekend, according to Exhibitor Relations.

The family friendly sequel to the 2005 film takes up the tale of the former occupants of a New York City zoo, this time in the African savannah, where they discover their roots, romance and sneaky hunters.

In its opening weekend, the low-brow comedy Role Models, starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott as slacker salesmen, came in at second place.

The film, in which two cynics have to perform community service as mentors to troubled youths, took in $19.2 million, figures showed.

It was a good weekend for the film industry, with the top 12 movies raking in 30.5 percent more than the same weekend a year ago, Exhibitor Relations said.

Disney’s clean-cut High School Musical 3: Senior Year dropped to third place after leading a week ago, raking in $9.2 million from Friday to Saturday.

Clint Eastwood’s drama Changeling, about a mother played by Angelina Jolie desperate to find her missing boy, remained in fourth place, with $7.2 million in earnings.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno dropped to fifth after opening in the second spot last weekend. The raunchy comedy, in which financially strapped friends played by Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks try to make a do-it-yourself pornographic movie but end up falling in love, took in $6.3 million.

Soul Men – starring Samuel Jackson and the late Bernie Mac as former soul singers reunited on a road trip for one last concert – debuted in sixth place, with $5.4 million.

Horror flick Saw V finished in seventh place, earning $4 million, and teen-slasher film The Haunting of Molly Hartley dropped to from fifth to eighth place, taking in $3.3 million.

The Secret Life of Bees, the screen adaptation of the novel by Sue Monk Kidd, dropped to ninth from the seventh rank, with $3.1 million in earnings, and thriller Eagle Eye fell one rung to 10th place, with $2.5 million in earnings.

Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua came in 11th place, after ranking sixth a week ago, with $2.5 million in earnings. And Max Payne – the fantasy-tinged movie based on the best-selling video game and starring Mark Wahlberg – took the 12th spot with $1.8 million.

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