The DreamWorks Animation sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa opens in more than 4,000 theaters in North America today, kicking off what is sure to be a lucrative weekend and a profitable theatrical run. The odds of a box-office victory are in the toon’s favor, though the frame does offer some competition in Universal’s well-reviewed, R-rated comedy, Role Models. Also opening in wide release is the MGM/Weinstein Co. comedy Soul Men, starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac.
In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo, King Julien, Maurice and the penguins all return for another wild adventure that begins when the penguins repair an old, crashed airplane and keep it in the air just long enough to reach the vast plains of Africa. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer and Andy Richter reprise their voice roles for the film, which is co-directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, and produced by Mireille Soria and Mark Swift. The sequel, which has been praised for its warmth, beautiful African backdrop and its excellent comic moments, also opens in IMAX venues today.
Role Models is a more mainstream effort from director David Wain, a former member of comedy troupe The State who directed the cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer and the recent indie comedy The Ten. Soul Men casts Jackson and Mac as soul-singing legends who begrudgingly reunite after 20 years of not speaking to one another.