Other summer movie franchises may be losing steam in the U.S., but Universal/Illumination’s “Despicable Me” series isn’t.
The third installment in the series — fourth if you count the 2015 “Minions” spinoff — is currently on pace to finish with a weekend opening of $83.4 million after making $29.1 million on Friday from 4,529 screens.
That total will give “Despicable Me 3” the biggest opening weekend of any animated film this year by a large margin, blowing by the $53.5 million made by “Cars 3” two weeks ago. It’s also nearly identical to the $83.5 million weekend opening of “Despicable Me 2” back on Fourth of July weekend in 2013.
That year, July 4 fell on a Thursday, leading Universal to release “DM2” on a Wednesday to a whopping $143 million five-day opening. With July 4 this Tuesday, there’s still strong upside for Illumination’s flagship franchise.
In second place this weekend is TriStar/MRC’s “Baby Driver,” which made $6 million on Friday and is driving towards an $18 million weekend total.
Combine that with $9 million from the film’s early Wednesday release, and you have a very solid $27 million five-day opening for the $34 million film produced by Working Title. Trackers had projected the film for a $15-20 million five-day start.
The result will be a watershed one for director/writer Edgar Wright, whose films, while critically acclaimed and loved by a rabid cult following, have so far failed to perform well at the box office.
Of his four previous films, his highest grossing is 2007’s “Hot Fuzz,” which only made $80.5 million worldwide; and the film that previously held the record for his highest opening weekend, 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” made a $10 million opening and went on to bomb with $47.6 million worldwide against a $60 million budget.
“Baby Driver” is on pace to break all those records, thanks in large part to strong word of mouth from critics, audiences, and directors alike.
In third place is Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” made just $4.8 million in its second Friday and is looking at a second weekend estimate of $16.3 million, down 64 percent from its $44.6 million weekend performance last week.
In fourth is “Wonder Woman,” which on Thursday passed “Batman v Superman” to become the highest domestic grossing film in the post-Dark Knight DC Extended Universe. It’s looking at a fifth frame of $15.3 million, which would give it a domestic cume of $345 million and a global total of over $700 million.
Finishing in a disappointing fifth is New Line/Village Roadshow’s “The House,” a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler that is currently on pace for a $10 million opening from 3,134 screens, one of the worst openings for a movie with Ferrell in the lead role.
The film may even fail to finish in the top 5, as Pixar’s “Cars 3” is also looking at a $10 million total in its third weekend in theaters.