'Madagascar 3' sets sights on box office record

Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” surpassed the $200 million Stateside mark late last week, with potentially enough steam left to vault over “How to Train Your Dragon” and become DWA’s highest-grossing non-“Shrek” film domestically.

Still, in “Madagascar 3’s” headlights is “Kung Fu Panda,” at $215.4 million; “Dragon” cumed $217.6 million domestically in 2010. To date, DWA has seven films (including “Madagascar 3″) that have grossed $200 million-plus, with all four “Shrek” films — topped by “Shrek 2″ ($436 million) — leading the crew.

As a potential indicator for “Madagascar 3,” look to “Panda” in 2008: That pic debuted at $60.2 million during the comparable weekend as “Madagascar 3,” which bowed to $60.3 million. Since opening, “Madagascar” has seen smaller weekend-to-weekend drops compared with “Panda” during every frame except one — its third.

Moreover, “Panda” needed about three more days than “Madagascar” to reach the $200 million threshold.

The zoo critters also had to compete with Disney-Pixar’s “Brave,” which bowed June 22 to an impressive $66.3 million. A potential roadblock to topping “Dragon”: Fox’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” which bowed nationwide July 13.

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