Dreamworks Animation’s MADAGASCAR is heading for a wonderful $40 million dollar plus opening weekend box office gross (ranking either #2 or #3 behind STAR WARS III, depending on its Sunday grosses against THE LONGEST YARD) and deserved success on the big screen. MADAGASCAR is a lot of fun – a pleasant summertime entertainment that is – for me – the best package Dreamworks has put together thus far.While SHREK I & II are funnier films, and have better stories, the character designs (with several exceptions) never appealed to me. ANTZ and SHARK TALE had their pluses and minuses as well. But with MADAGASCAR, Dreamworks really nailed it. It looks great, is packed with visual & verbal wit, and is directed and paced to get the maximum laughs.Oh, and the marketing is really great. Really. I mean, the film is called MADAGASCAR – They could have (and maybe should have) named it THE ZOO CREW (or does DC Comics own that title?) or THE NEW YORK GIANTS (does the NFL own that one?), or something… but they are pushing a film called MADAGASCAR, and have succeeded in selling tickets.With THE CORPSE BRIDE, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, CHICKEN LITTLE and Dreamworks/Aardman’s WALLACE & GROMIT coming, a very good year for animated features is shaping up.