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'Madagascar 3' stampedes, 'Rock,' Sandler stumble

LOS ANGELES--Zoo animals remain hot at the box office. Singing stars and Adam Sandler are not.

Ben Stiller and his voice co-stars of “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted” held on to the No. 1 spot again, with US$35.5 million for the animated sequel's second weekend in domestic theaters.

Studio estimates Sunday put Ridley Scott's sci-fi adventure “Prometheus” at No. 2 again with US$20.2 million.

“Madagascar 3” and “Prometheus” held off two under-achieving newcomers. The star-studded musical “Rock of Ages,” whose cast includes Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Alec Baldwin, flopped at No. 3 with US$15.1 million.

Sandler's “That's My Boy” bombed with US$13 million, the worst showing for one of his broad comedies since the mid-1990s. “That's My Boy” came in at No. 5, behind the US$13.8 million for “Snow White & the Huntsman,” a film that's been out for three weekends already.

“Sure, we would have liked to have done more,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony, which released “That's My Boy” and most of Sandler's past movies. “But you've got to give it to Adam. He mixes it up. This is a really off-the-wall comedy.”

“That's My Boy” stars Sandler as a guy who became a fleeting teen celebrity after getting his seventh-grade teacher pregnant and now is a middle-aged loser trying to reconnect with his son (Andy Samberg).

As with most Sandler movies, the reviews were bad, but that usually does not stop his audience of young males from showing up.

The R rating for “That's My Boy” may have cut into the movie's business, prohibiting those under 17 from seeing it without an adult. Sandler's comedies usually are rated PG-13.

But Sandler has plenty of fans in their late teens and 20s, and that crowd had little interest in “That's My Boy.”

Among Sandler's mainstream live-action comedies, it was the worst debut since 1996's “Happy Gilmore,” which played in far fewer theaters than “That's My Boy” and came as Sandler was just climbing to stardom. And factoring in today's higher admission prices, “That's My Boy” sold fewer tickets than “Happy Gilmore.”

Some of Sandler's handful of comic dramas and other more serious movies did less business than “That's My Boy.” But even his 2000 bomb “Little Nicky” opened bigger, with US$16.1 million in its first weekend.

Sandler has been one of Hollywood's steadiest earners since the late 1990s, with hits such as “The Longest Yard,” “Anger Management,” “Big Daddy” and “Grown-ups” opening with more than US$40 million and becoming US$100 million hits.

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This film image released by DreamWorks Animation shows, from left, Gloria the Hippo, voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith, left, Melman the Giraffe, voiced by David Schwimmer, center, and Marty the Zebra, voiced by Chris Rock.(AP)

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