It was a race to the finish, but "Prometheus" fell to the powerful animated zoo animals of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" at the box office this weekend.

The DreamWorks family film earned the No. 1 spot at the box office with a $60.4 million debut, followed by a big opening for Ridley Scott's action-packed alien adventure "Prometheus" with $50 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Prometheus" earned positive reviews from critics and beat out "Madagascar 3" on Friday by about $1 million, but by the end of the weekend, it did not win the top spot over the family film.

"Madagascar 3" premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival and the buzz has been high ever since. The film -- which features voice performances from Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain and David Schwimmer -- follows zoo refugees hoping to make their way back to New York in a traveling circus.

Considering there hasn't been a true family film in theaters since April with "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" -- which has earned $28.8 million domestically to date -- it seems parents were eager for childlike fare.

Both "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus" did better than expected this weekend, with "Prometheus" earning extra accolades as an R-rated original film. With its impressive debut, the film could become one of the highest grossing R-rated films ever. The movie, which stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and current "Snow White" star Charlize Theron, follows a spaceship crew in the 21st century that encounters a dangerous creature while looking for the remnants of ancient civilizations,.

According to The Wrap, Theron's "Snow White and the Huntsman" fell to No. 3 at the box office with $23 million (which brings its total close to the $100 million mark). "Men in Black 3" took in $13.5 million, taking its overall domestic haul to an impressive $135.5 million.

DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar 3" was the family favorite for the weekend, reuniting voice stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer as the zoo animals continue their travels by joining a circus.

"Prometheus," from 20th Century Fox, stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron in an offshoot of director's Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror tale "Alien." "Prometheus" did big business despite an R rating, which can limit a movie's audience since under 17 must see it with an adult.

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