Box Office: ‘Prometheus’ bursts out Friday with $21.4 Million nipping ‘Madagascar 3’

Ridley Scott still has some kick left in his game.  The legendary filmmaker has been hot and cold the past decade, but he scored a huge win on Friday as “Prometheus” pulled in $21.4 million.  That’s an impressive start for the R-rated thriller and even more so considering the mixed reviews.  In fact, the “Alien” semi-prequel is looking at 3-day come of $55-57 million.  That puts it right behind Scott’s largest opening ever, “Hannibal,” which debuted with $58 million in 2001.  The 20th Century Fox release also puts star Charlize Theron in the driver’s seat for possibly her second no.1 movie in two weeks following last week’s big opening for “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Last week’s champ didn’t do too badly Friday, pulling in another $7.5 million for what should be $82.9 million in just eight days.  The Universal Pictures fantasy should end up with $160 million plus when all is said and done which it isn’t.  The studio has already put a sequel in the works for stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Clafin.

Friday’s other big debut was DreamWorks Animation’s “Madgascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” The animated adventure opened on a monstrous 4,258 theaters compared to 3,396 for “Prometheus” and was just the R-rated flick with $20.4 million.  The question is whether Saturday matinees can boost “Madgascar’s” cume enough to overtake “Prometheus” for the weekend crown.  It will be close, but industry analysts still think the third installment in DreamWork’s long running franchise will come out on top with $58-60 million. It will also have little competition in the family marketplace until Pixar’s “Brave” opens on June 22.

Dropping to fourth was Sony Pictures’ “Men in Black 3.”  The Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin action comedy grossed another $4.2 million for $1226 million) so far.  The picture is actually playing much better overseas with over $307 million.  Those global grosses are the only hope Sony has of breaking even on the costly picture.

Right behind “MIB3” was Marvel’s amazing “The Avengers” with another $3.2 million and $564 million in the U.S. alone.  Joss Whedon’s phenomenon should hit $600 million domestic, but will likely have a hard time reaching “Titanic’s” current $658.6 million take.

Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.