The ‘Despicable Me’ entry came in notably behind expectations in a surprise twist, while ‘Baby Driver’ is proving a powerful antidote to summer popcorn fare with a $30 million launch; ‘The House’ marks the worst wide opening of Will Ferrell’s career in a leading role.
This year’s fireworks display at the July Fourth holiday box office was decidedly mixed, led by Despicable Me 3 with $72.4 million from 4,529 theaters.
In a surprise twist, the threequel came in notably behind expectations for Universal and Illumination Entertainment. Heading into the weekend, most had expected it to rake in $85 million to $90 million. Sunday estimates showed the movie grossing $75.4 million, but the number was revised downwards on Monday morning when final weekend numbers were calculated.
Gru and his minions are doing more villainous business overseas, where Despicable Me 3 earned $95.6 million from 52 markets for a No. 1 finish and foreign total of $116.9 million (it began rolling out offshore in some territories two weeks ago). The global tally is an estimated $189.2 million.
While Despicable Me 3 didn’t get entirely sunk by sequel fatigue in North America, it proves another cautionary tale for Hollywood, a town fixated with churning out multiple installments in a film franchise. The Fourth of July frame was supposed to help close a year-over-year gap in summer box-office revenue, but it didn’t. According to comScore, summer revenue is currently down by nearly 8 percent. Worse, gains made earlier in the year have eroded so that 2017 revenue is now even with 2016.
Despicable Me 2 likewise opened over the Fourth of July frame in 2013, grossing $83.5 million for the weekend proper and $143.1 million in its five-day debut (that year, the holiday fell on a Thursday, which is more advantageous than a Tuesday). And in summer 2015, spinoff Minionsopened to a huge $115.7 million over the July 10-12 weekend.
Universal executives Nick Carpou and Duncan Clark, who head up domestic and international distribution, respectively, said Despicable Me 3 is off to a stellar start everywhere. In the U.S., Carpou said there was tough competition for families distracted by July Fourth weekend plans, but added, “$75 million is nothing to sneeze at.” Also, the movie scored the top opening of the year to date for an animated film.
The third installment follows Gru (Steve Carell) as he meets up with his long-lost twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell). Together, they take on a diamond thief (Trey Parker).
In a major win for Sony’s film studio, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver rode to a five-day debut of $29 million-$30 million from 3,226 theaters after opening Wednesday. Sony’s TriStar Pictures, MRC and Working Title partnered on the pic, which is proving to be a powerful antidote to summer popcorn fare.
The critically acclaimed heist thriller stars Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx. Sony puts the budget of the film at $34 million after rebates. Baby Driver drew both young and old; 40 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
More Details @ The Hollywood Reporter