Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Audiences show love for Despicable Me

Plus, Twilight holds on at #2, and Predators knocks Toy Story down to fourth.

by | July 12, 2010 | Comments

This weekend, moviegoers flooded the multiplexes spending plenty of cash on a variety of movies led by the better-than-expected opening for the 3D animated comedy Despicable Me which easily took control of the number one spot. The sci-fi action pic Predators also debuted well taking third place while most holdovers showed considerable strength suffering only small declines. The top ten surged to its second best showing of the year with a powerful $191M in ticket sales.

Steve Carell’s evil plan for world domination worked as his new toon Despicable Me hauled in an estimated $60.1M this weekend from 3,476 theaters for a muscular $17,295 average. For struggling Universal, it was the best opening for the studio in the 15 months since Fast and Furious bowed to $71M in April 2009. Expected to debut in the $30-40M range, the PG-rated pic took advantage of great reviews plus highly effective trailers and TV spots that made the film appeal to both families as well as teens and young adults. Parents with kids under 12 made up only 55% of the crowd while the CinemaScore grade was an encouraging A. The performance was especially impressive considering the fact that Toy Story 3 and The Last Airbender are pulling in kids and together grossed nearly $40M this weekend.

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Despicable Me outgunned the openings of other non-sequel 3D toons like How to Train Your Dragon and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs which bowed to $43.7M and $30.3M, respectively. Both were embraced by critics and audiences alike and went on to gross four to five times their opening weekend grosses. With Despicable‘s summer play period, its domestic gross could easily go on to triple the $69M production budget in North America alone and add much more from overseas markets plus worldwide home video.

Following an explosive opening week that saw a staggering $187M in seven days, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse fell to second place in its sophomore weekend collecting an estimated $33.4M propelling the 12-day haul to a massive $237M. The third Cullen pic dropped only 49%. The decline was not too high since the Friday-to-Sunday period last week did not include the opening day turnout. But Summit should be very happy with the hold as it was much lower than the sophomore falls for the last two highly anticipated Harry Potter films which also launched on summer Wednesdays. 2007’s Order of the Phoenix dropped 58% and last year’s Half-Blood Prince fell 62%.

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Overseas, Eclipse banked an additional $81.1M from 63 markets and boosted the overseas cume to $219M and the global haul to $456M. In North America, the latest Bella tale should be able to beat New Moon‘s $296.6M and finish in the neighborhood of $310M.

Fox’s sci-fi reboot Predators landed in third place opening to an estimated $25.3M from 2,669 theaters for a sturdy $9,479 average per location. The R-rated action film was produced by Robert Rodriguez and starred Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne. Budgeted at just under $40M, the ultraviolent pic took advantage of a marketplace dominated by movies for women and kids leaving a big opportunity that a franchise-based testosterone flick could take advantage of. The weekend was heavily frontloaded with Friday accounting for 41% of the three-day gross and Saturday falling 19% from the opening day. Reviews were quite good for this genre.

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Despite another 3D toon stealing away potential business, Toy Story 3 held up very well in its fourth frame grossing an estimated $22M slipping only 27%. The Woody threequel upped its total gross to a stellar $340.2M after only 24 days making it the highest-grossing film ever for Pixar edging past the $339.7M of 2003’s Finding Nemo. The fish flick has sold about 40% more tickets, though, as prices were lower seven years ago and there were no 3D surcharges added in to its tally. Toy Story 3 rose up to number 17 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters behind the $340.7M lifetime take of 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Paramount’s The Last Airbender suffered the worst drop in the top ten tumbling 58% to an estimated $17.2M in its second weekend. The M. Night Shyamalan-directed sci-fi actioner raised its 11-day total to a solid $100.2M making it the director’s first film to break the century mark since 2004’s The Village. Airbender could conclude its domestic run in the vicinity of $140M.

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Adam Sandler crossed the $100M mark for the eleventh time in his career over the weekend as his latest comedy Grown Ups enjoyed a sensational hold slipping only 14% to an estimated $16.4M boosting the 17-day tally to $111.3M for Sony. Despite the usual dreadful reviews, audiences are continuing to turn out for this dose of mindless summer laughs. Tom Cruise won’t be joining the century club with his action-comedy Knight and Day which slipped 25% to an estimated $7.9M for $61.9M to date for Fox.

80s pals The Karate Kid and The A-Team have spent all five of their weeks next to each other on the charts. Sony’s Kid fell 29% to an estimated $5.7M while Fox’s Team dropped 44% to an estimated $1.8M. Totals thus far are $164.6M and $74M, respectively.

Holding onto tenth place was the indie hit comedy Cyrus which expanded from 77 to 200 locations and watched its weekend gross climb 78% to an estimated $1.4M. The Fox Searchlight release averaged a solid $6,875 and has banked $3.5M to date with many more cities to open in the coming weeks.

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There was plenty of good news to go around for other independent films in limited release too. Focus enjoyed sensational results for its Sundance acquisition The Kids Are All Right which platformed in only seven locations but grossed an estimated $505,000 for a scorching $72,143 per theater. Winning praise from critics, the R-rated film about teen children of a lesbian couple wanting to meet their biological father was picked up for nearly $5M after wowing the film industry in Park City in January.

Also performing very well was the Swedish thriller The Girl Who Played With Fire which opened at number eleven nationwide with an estimated $965,000 from only 110 locations for a strong $8,773 average. Fire is the sequel to March’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which has grossed $9.3M to date. Other notable indie holdovers include Roadside Attractions’ Winter’s Bone with an estimated $507,000 and $4,783 average in its fifth weekend with $2.6M to date, and Anchor Bay’s Solitary Man with an estimated $457,000 and $3.5M cume.

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The top ten films grossed an estimated $191.1M which was up 45% from last year when Brüno opened in the top spot with $30.6M; and up 37% from 2008 when Hellboy II debuted at number one with $34.5M. This is the third year in a row that Universal opened a new film at number one on this particular frame.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!