Sony's Adam Sandler ensemble comedy Grown Ups 2 and holdover Despicable Me 2 are in a close race for the top spot at the domestic box office, while original tentpole Pacific Rim has begun slowing down.
Grown Ups 2 topped the Friday box office with a strong $16.3 million. Sony is now predicting a $45 million to $46 million opening, possibly enough to beat Universal's Despicable 2. Other studios, including Universal, have the two sequels each grossing in the $44 million range for the weekend.
Pacific Rim, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros., came in No. 2 on Friday with $14.6 million. It's now expected to open in the $37 million to $39 million range, a troubled beginning considering the tentpole's $190 million-plus budget. Legendary, which took the lead on the project, footed most of the budget.
Despicable 2, placing No. 3 Friday with $13.4 million, will pull ahead of Pacific Rim on Saturday.
Marking del Toro's first big-budget tentpole, Pacific Rim pits giant robots against alien monsters, stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day.
Defying soft prerelease tracking, Pacific Rim got off to a better-than-expected start Thursday night and Friday, but once fanboy traffic started tapering off late in the evening, the movie took a dip. Mirroring strong reviews, Pacific Rim received an A- CinemaScore.
Despite being ravaged by critics, Grown Ups 2 received a B- CinemaScore, same as the 2010 original. The sequel, costing $80 million to produce, opens three years after the original film turned into a box-office hit, bowing to $40.5 million and ultimately grossing $271.4 million worldwide.
The ensemble comedy, receiving blistering reviews, reteams Sandler with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello.
Overseas, Pacific Rim is off to a strong start in Asia, Russia and Argentina, though it fared dismally in Australia on Thursday, coming in No. 4 behind the the opening day of The Heat, Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University (the two animated films are benefiting from school holidays).
On Friday, Pacific Rim opened in the No. 2 spot in the U.K., grossing $1.1 million to come in behind the opening day of Monsters University.
Pacific Rim grossed $7.8 million from 25 markets on Thursday, led by Russia with $2 million. It also prospered across Asia, taking in $1.5 million in South Korea, marking Warners' third-largest opening day of all time in that market.
So far internationally, the tentpole is outpacing a slew of films that went on to gross between $300 million and $400 million overseas, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Clash of the Titans and Prometheus. It's also pacing on par with World War Z, which has earned more than $200 million to date at the foreign box office.
Despicable 2 continues to be a huge win for Illumination Entertainment and Universal and should end the weekend with a worldwide gross in the $400 million range.
Making headlines at the specialty box office was The Weinstein Co.'s critically acclaimed Fruitvale, which grossed $127,445 from seven theaters for a location average of $18,206.