Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 2′ Soars With $142 Mil, While ‘Lone Ranger’ Stalls With Less Than $50 Mil
Moviegoers went gaga for Universal’s yellow minions this weekend, with “Despicable Me 2” grossing a boffo $142 million in five days, condemning Disney’s masked vigilante in “The Lone Ranger” to sidekick status as the film disappointed with $48.9 million through Sunday.
Globally, “Despicable Me 2,” from Illumination Entertainment, reached a whopping $293.2 million. This weekend, the toon, which scored an ‘A’ CinemaScore rating, grossed an additional $88.8 million from 45 overseas territories, bringing its international cume to $151.1 million.
“The Lone Ranger,” which bowed day-and-date in roughly 30% of the international market, grossed $24.3 million.
The $73.2 million global start for “The Lone Ranger” is nowhere near what the $225 million-budgeted film needed to earn for Disney execs to breathe easily. In fact, “Lone Ranger” actually earned less from Friday to Sunday domestically, with an estimated $29.4 million, than what “John Carter” made during its debut frame ($30.2 million) last year. Yet, while there is virtually no hope left for “The Lone Ranger” even to break even, the film’s summer play period gives it a distinct advantage over the “John Carter” disaster, which bowed in March.
“We obviously hoped we would connect to a broader audience,” admitted Disney distribution topper Dave Hollis. “I think the frustrating thing is that as you’re putting a film like this together, with talent like Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp, you feel like all the ingredients are there.”
Bowing well this weekend, Lionsgate-Summit’s stand-up concert docu “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” grossed a solid $17.5 million in its first five days.
Overall, Stateside box office expanded just about as far as it could stretch, taking in a record $222 million in three days — higher than the previous Independence Day three-day weekend benchmark set in 2011.
Holdover business also was robust as Fox’s R-rated comedy “The Heat” led with an estimated $25 million in three days, down just 36%. Even Disney/Pixar’s animated leftover “Monsters University,” which crossed $400 million worldwide this weekend, held up well against “Despicable Me 2,” dropping just 57%, for a projected $19.6 million weekend gross.
“The Heat” has cumed north of $86 million domestically in two weeks; “Monsters U,” meanwhile, reached an impressive $216 million in three.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight debuted Sundance comedy “The Way, Way Back,” which averaged an estimated $30,263 from 19 theaters. The distrib plans to expand the film into 13 additional markets next weekend before going wide on July 26.
(Two-dimensional) toon power
With the recent success of “Monsters University,” added to this weekend’s outstanding opening for “Despicable Me 2,” the domestic box office has been fueled recently by animated fare becoming all-audience events.
“Despicable Me 2,” which cost just $76 million to produce and estimated $82.5 million from Friday to Sunday, now has the fourth-highest three-day opening for an animated film, surpassing “Monsters U’s” $82.4 million Stateside debut. Neither film performed well in 3D, however. The format contributed just 31% for “Monsters University,” and even less for “Despicable Me 2,” with roughly 27%.
The lower 3D take for “Despicable Me 2″ (without Imax or other large-format screens) makes sense since exit polls are taken opening day, and mid-week bows during the summer are particularly family-driven. (“Monsters U” opened on a Friday.)
Still, U went to great lengths to attract adult audiences who, similar to children, were drawn to the minion characters, said U domestic distribution prexy Nikki Rocco. The story and main character Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) also were big draws for adults.
Depp charge overseas?
The biggest question left for “Lone Ranger” is how much can Depp add to the pic’s bottom line in major international territories. The actor is one of — if not the — most consistent box office draw internationally, though even Depp faces a ginormous challenge in attracting overseas auds to the iconic American Western.
That’s why Disney is selling the film internationally based on the size and scope of “The Lone Ranger” as an action-adventure film — along with Depp, of course, who plays the painted Tonto. Armie Hammer toplines as the masked hero.