Initial box office results for Rock of Ages and That's My Boy seem to confirm two very important things: the 1980s was a lousy decade, and starpower is a bit overrated.
The latest projects from box office heavyweights Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler both bombed hard this weekend, which allowed Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted to easily hold on to the top spot. Prometheus remained in second as well, though it took a big hit in its sophomore outing, and the Top 12 wound up down 16 percent from the same frame last year.
Madagascar 3 dipped 43.5 percent to $34.06 million this weekend. That's a strong hold for an animated sequel: in comparison, Cars 2 fell 60 percent, Toy Story 3 dipped 46 percent, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa fell 44.5 percent. The movie remains ahead of both of its predecessors with a 10-day total of $119 million.
Prometheus crashed 59 percent to $20.7 million in its second weekend. That drop is about on par with Wanted and The Matrix Reloaded, but is significantly worse than Inception (32 percent) and Super 8 (39 percent). Through 10 days, the Alien prequel has earned $89.4 million, which technically makes it the highest-grossing movie ever in the Alien franchise (though of course it still lags behind most of the movies when adjusting for ticket price inflation).
Rock of Ages took third place with $14.4 million from 3,470 locations. It had the sixth-highest opening ever for a musical, and third all-time for one adapted from a stage production. That being said, with a prime Summer date, a massive release, recognizable tunes and an all-star cast, the movie should have done much better. Clearly, the goal was to see similar results as past Summer musicals Mamma Mia! ($27.8 million) and Hairspray ($27.5 million), and Rock of Ages didn't come close.
The audience skewed female (62 percent) and older (74 percent over 25), and they awarded the movie a "B" CinemaScore. The movie earned an estimated $225,000 from 35 IMAX theaters.
That's My Boy wound up even lower than Rock of Ages with a terrible $13.45 million from 3,030 locations. That's a little over half of Jack and Jill's $25 million debut last November, and that movie was already on the low-end for Adam Sandler comedies. It was also lower than notorious Sandler bomb Little Nicky, which earned $16.1 million in its opening weekend. In fact, That's My Boy had the worst debut for a live-action traditional Sandler comedy since 1996's Happy Gilmore ($8.5 million).
The audience was 54 percent male and 52 percent under the age of 25, and they gave the movie a "B-" CinemaScore (though that improved to "B" among the under-50 crowd).
On the surface, the disappointing results for Rock of Ages and That's My Boy seem to suggest that Tom Cruise and Adam Sandler have lost some of their mojo (Sandler more so than Cruise, since Rock of Ages ads didn't really play up Cruise's presence). It's more likely, though, that this is just an example of the financial pitfalls of stretching in to a different type of role. Tom Cruise is an action movie star—Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol just earned nearly $700 million worldwide—while Adam Sandler is a family movie star. Cruise and Sandler were out of their elements in Rock of Ages (musical) and That's My Boy (R-rated), so their fanbases didn't show up. Genre fans could have compensated for that had either of the movies looked worthwhile, but that wasn't really the case. Both actors should ultimately survive this weekend relatively unscathed: Cruise is back in his wheelhouse in December with Jack Reacher, while Sandler is starring in sequel Grown Ups 2 next Summer.
Snow White and the Huntsman took fifth place with $13.3 million, which is a 42.5 percent drop from last weekend. So far, the dark interpretation of the classic fairy tale has earned $122.1 million.
MIB 3 eased 28 percent to $10.05 million, bringing its 24-day total to $152.7 million. The Avengers had a strong Father's Day turnout and wound up dipping just 21 percent to $8.9 million for the weekend (new total of $586.7 million).
In ninth place, Moonrise Kingdom expanded to 178 locations and earned $2.24 million. That's a very solid $12,571 per-theater average, though the movie continues to pale in comparison to last Summer's quirky hit Midnight in Paris. So far, Wes Anderson's latest has grossed $6.84 million.