Newcomers 'Rock of Ages,' 'That's My Boy' debut soft

Holdovers “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Prometheus” again led the B.O. charge with sturdy Stateside soph-sesh perfs over the weekend. But domestic totals dropped at least 15% from last year, as moviegoers were apathetic toward newcomers “Rock of Ages” and “That’s My Boy.”

The Warner Bros. rock-music ensembler managed to score a paltry estimated $15.1 million through Sunday, while Sony’s latest Adam Sandler pic came in with less, at $13 million. Both debut perfs were on the low side of modest pre-weekend expectations.

Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar” threequel had no trouble winning the world, adding $53 million internationally to its overseas tally of $157 million. The 3D toon grossed $35.5 million in the States, which boosted its domestic cume to $120.5 million. Globally, the film reached a stellar $277.5 million in 12 days.

Fox’s “Prometheus,” meanwhile, fell 60% domestically — slightly steeper than desired — for an estimated take of $20.2 million, bringing its domestic cume to about $89 million. Pic has amassed $217.8 million worldwide.

Last weekend, “Madagascar” and “Prometheus” helped Stateside box office eclipse 2011’s running summer tally by 2%; that gain likely won’t last through the weekend, however.

Bizzers weren’t expecting either newcomer to blow the doors down, but the soft bows for both pics look to affect playability. “Rock of Ages,” budgeted at $75 million (not including marketing), received a unenthusiastic B CinemaScore rating, while “That’s My Boy,” which cost $65 million, scored a B- overall.

International prospects look equally dicey — particularly for “Boy,” since American comedies often don’t travel well outside the U.S. Popularity for Sandler could help; pic tied with “Rock” in Australia (the only overseas territory Sony launched “Boy” at this weekend), where both pics earned $1.4 million. “Rock” totaled $4.1 million from 10 day-and-date markets, including the U.K., which contributed $1.6 million.

Warners prexy of domestic distribution Dan Fellman noted that “Rock” could benefit from targeting mostly women over 25. “Female-skewing movies tend to play better midweek,” Fellman said. “So, we’ll see if we can play a little catch-up.”

Based on the Broadway tuner, “Rock” features music from ’80s bands such as Poison, Def Leppard and Journey. And while Tom Cruise is the biggest star in a larger ensemble that includes Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Warners tried to sell “Rock” mainly on nostalgia for the music.

“That’s My Boy,” meanwhile, drew a little more than half of its opening-weekend B.O. from men under 25, which means it’ll be harder for “Boy” to leg out, especially with Fox’s similarly targeted “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” bowing Friday.

Some specialty pics are showing stronger legs; most notably, Focus Features’ “Moonrise Kingdom,” which grossed another $2.2 million this weekend from 178 locations. Pic has cumed $6.8 million after four weeks in the U.S. and Canada. Also expanding, FilmDistrict’s dramedy “Safety Not Guaranteed” averaged a respectable $6,277 from 47 locations, up from nine last weekend. Pic has cumed nearly $500,000 after two weekends.

Specialty openers included IFC’s Lynn Shelton-helmed “Your Sister’s Sister,” which averaged a promising $9,000 from 13 Stateside engagements. ATO’s French pic “The Woman in the Fifth,” starring Ethan Hawke-Kristin Scott Thomas, launched at nine locations, earning $4,109 per screen.

Intl. B.O. highlights

Thanks to expansions into major markets like Russia, France and Japan, Universal’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” surged 27% internationally, netting an estimated $31.2 million for an overseas cume of $124.6 million. “Huntsman” has totaled about that in the States, giving it nearly $250 million worldwide to date.

Also holding well globally, Sony’s “Men in Black 3″ is approaching $600 million, with a stellar $391.6 million tally overseas.

Paramount’s “The Dictator,” which entered its fifth weekend overseas, landed in the top five with an estimated $4.7 million, off just 2% from the previous weekend. Pic expanded into Italy with just shy of $1 million — top dollar for “Dictator,” though hurt by the country’s struggling economy.

So far, “Dictator” has earned $76.7 million from 35 international territories, which accounts for more than half of the pic’s $134.4 million global cume.

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