'Madagascar' has big Friday

Sequel on target to bring in $55 million this weekend

It looks like moviegoers are going mad for DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar" sequel.

Paramount-distributed "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" nabbed $17.5 million on Friday to top all daily domestic grosses and set up a likely $55 million-plus weekend opening. That would make for a three-day bow coming in at the high end of pre-release projections.
"Madagascar 2" will certainly out-gross the first three days of the 2005 franchise original. "Madagascar" opened over that year's four-day Memorial Day frame and collected $47 million of its $61 million holiday-padded haul over its first Friday through Sunday.

Elsewhere among Friday's wide openers, Universal's R-rated comedy "Role Models" was the second-best Friday grosser, with $6.7 million. That puts the Seann William Scott-starrer on track for a three-day performance in the teen millions for another better-than-expected weekend bow.

But Dimension Films' MGM-distributed "Soul Men" -- an R-rated laugher starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac -- looks like it will struggle this weekend after collecting just $1.8 million on Friday for sixth place on the daily boxoffice chart.

In a limited bow, Lionsgate's rock opera "Repo: The Genetic Opera" registered a decently strong $26,000 from eight theaters in six markets. The distributor plans to expand the Sarah Brightman-Paris Hilton starrer slowly, disregarding early poor reviews as Lionsgate seeks to build a cult following for the futuristic scfi-themed musical.

Disney's leggy "High School Musical 3" was the third-highest grosser Friday and the best among this frame's holdover pics, with the day's $2.5 million tally pushing its 15-day cume to $69 million.

The Weinstein Co.'s R-rated comedy "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" landed fourth in the daily rankings, with $2.2 million on Friday and a $16.6 million cume through eight days.

Universal's Angelina Jolie starrer "Changeling" -- entering its second weekend in wide release after a single frame in limited distribution -- rung up $2.1 million on Friday to finish fifth in the daily pecking order. That pushed cume for the Clint Eastwood-helmed period drama to $15.5 million.

Freestyle's PG-13 horror pic "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" scared up an eighth place performance of $1,1 million on Friday to conjure a $7.9 million cume.
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