It's a happy holiday for 'Despicable Me' at box office
05:00 AM, Jul 06, 2013
When it comes to box office, minions are mighty.
The jabbering yellow sidekicks of Despicable Me 2 powered the animated family film to a whopping $30.2 million on Friday, virtually guaranteeing it will run off with the lucrative July 4 holiday weekend, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The opening trounced Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger, which limped into the holiday with weekend $10.7 million.
Both films were released Wednesday, but that’s the only similarity between the animated sequel and the $225 million Disney Western, which will become on the year’s biggest flops.
Through the first three days of release, Steve Carell’s Despicable has done $89.7 million, while Ranger is sputtering at $30.2 million.
Critics and fans were decidedly on the minions side as well. Three-fourths of the nation’s critics recommended Despicable, while 89% of fans enjoyed it, according to pollsters Rottentomatoes.com.
Less than one in four critics gave Ranger a thumbs-up, compared with a mediocre 68% of fans, the site says.
The animated debut “bodes well for the minions spinoff” movie Dec. 19, 2014, says Tim Briody of Boxofficeprophets.com.
“It’s hard to understate how fantastic this performance is,” he says, noting that “Despicable Me 2 beat the opening of the 2010 original in just two days.”
Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo says the franchise flourished with a canny marketing campaign.
“After being well received by audiences at the time, Universal Pictures has done a nice job maintaining the Despicable brand in toy stores and in their theme parks,” Subers says.
While the franchise isn’t as recognizable as the heroes of the Toy Story series, Despicable has “gotten about as close as you can with only one movie,” he says.
Ranger, meanwhile, will mark Disney’s biggest flop since Mars Needs Moms, the $150 million cartoon that managed just $21 million in 2011.
While Ranger will likely crack the nine-figure gross, its production budget “seems like a lot for a Western based on a character that probably reached the height of his popularity over 50 years ago.”
The Melissa McCarthy cop comedy The Heat was third on Friday with $8.6 million, followed by Monsters University with $7.1 million.
The Brad Pitt zombie film World War Z was fifth Friday with $6.3 million.
Full holiday weekend estimates are due Sunday.