Wise-cracking penguins, love torn giraffes and anxious lions ruled this weekend as DreamWorks’ “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” devoured the competition at theaters, taking in $63.5 million, according to studio estimates from box-office tracking firm Nielsen EDI.

With Ben Stiller and Chris Rock leading the voice over cast, the debut of “Madagascar 2”, the sequel to the 2005 blockbuster, marked the biggest opening of the year for an animated film. The number surpassed this summer’s “WALL•E”, which opened at $63.1 million. The biggest animated opening belongs to last year’s “Shrek the Third”, with $121.6 million.

In his final movie role, Bernie Mac’s comedy “Soul Men” finished a disappointing sixth with only $5.6 million. Mac, who died in August from complications of pneumonia, did not have a completely terrible weekend as he also lends his voice to the “Madagascar” sequel.

Marking a distant second was David Wain’s R-Rated comedy “Role Models.” Starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, the film focuses on two co-workers who are ordered to enroll in a Big Brother program. It premiered at $19.3 million, while Disney’s “High School Musical 3” danced to third place with $9.29 million.

Insomniac browser for ticketing professionals

The Angelina Jolie thriller “The Changeling” scored a mere $7.28 million and the comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” came in fifth place with $6.52 million. Final figures are due late Monday.

AddThis Story to Your Favorite Social Bookmarking Site!

Box Office Grosses
Week Ending November 9, 2008

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) $63.5M $63.5M
2 Role Models (2008) $19.3M $19.3M
3 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) $9.29M $75.7M
4 Changeling (2008) $7.28M $20.6M
5 Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) $6.52M $20.9M
6 Soul Men (2008) $5.61M $5.61M
7 Saw V (2008) $4.2M $52.3M
8 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008) $3.49M $10.2M
9 The Secret Life of Bees (2008) $3.12M $29.9M
10 Eagle Eye (2008) $2.59M $96.4M