Universal and Illumination’s ‘Despicable Me 3’ and ‘Baby Driver’ will help fuel a big rebound from last year’s dismal July Fourth; ‘The House’ marks one of the worst wide openings of Will Ferrell’s movie career.
Gru and his trouble-making minions are setting off early July Fourth fireworks at the North American box office, where Despicable Me 3 earned $29.2 million Friday for an estimated three-day debut of $83.5 million before likely racking up more big numbers on Monday and Tuesday, the official holiday
Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s threequel is playing in 4,529 theaters, with Friday’s haul including $4.1 million in Thursday evening previews. Overseas, the movie is projected to earn $91.4 million from 46 markets this weekend for an early foreign total of $112.7 million (it opened in handful of markets early) and worldwide cume of roughly $196 million through Sunday.
In 2013, Despicable Me 2 also opened over the Fourth of July holiday frame, grossing $83.5 domestically for the weekend proper and $143.1 million for the five-day holiday corridor. In 2015, spinoff Minions opened to a huge $115.7 million.
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). DM3 received an A- CinemaScore, compared to an A for the first two.
Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, which opened Wednesday, is also going to be a holiday winner. Motoring to a strong $9 million from 3,226 theaters in its first two days, the critically acclaimed movie grossed another $6 million Friday for a projected $27.8 million five-day debut in a big win for Sony/TriStar, Media Rights Capital and Working Title.
Baby Driver, hoping to serve as counterprogramming to popcorn fare, stars Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx as a group of bank robbers. The film received an A- CinemaScore.
Despicable Me 3 and Baby Driver will help fuel a major rebound from last year’s July Fourth corridor, when The Legend of Tarzan and The BFG both fell flat.
The holiday forecast, however, does show thunderstorms drenching this weekend’s third new nationwide release, New Line and Village Roadshow’s comedy The House. The R-rated comedy, starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, opened to $3.4 million Friday from 3,134 cinemas and isn’t likely to clear much more than $10 million for the weekend, one of the worst openings of Ferrell’s career in a lead role.
The House, about a couple who try to earn money to pay for their daughter’s college by opening an underground gambling establishment, wasn’t screened in advance for critics and is looking at a sixth-place finish
The comedy is getting beat by several holdovers, led by fellow Warner Bros. blockbuster Wonder Woman, now in its fifth weekend. The superhero film earned $4.4 million Friday from 3,404 theaters to place No. 3, finishing the day with a domestic total to $335 million.
Paramount’s troubled Transformers: The Last Knight is slipping to No. 4 in its second weekend. The movie is projected to gross roughly $16 million from 4,132 theaters, a 65 percent drop. It will should hit $100 million domestically on Sunday, but that isn’t number great considering the movie’s net budget of $217 million.
Pixar and Disney’s Cars 3, which is doing less business than the previous installments, is falling off more steeply than many animated tentpoles. Now in its third weekend, the family film, facing competition from Despicable Me 3, is projected to gross $10 million, a 58 percent decline. The movie’s domestic cume through Sunday is estimated to be $121 million.