Minions Rout Ranger at the Box Office
By John Hamann
July 7, 2013
Despicable Me 2’s minions rode roughshod over Johnny Depp and The Lone Ranger, as Disney’s mega-budgeted western goes down in flames. It’s Wild Wild West all over again, but this time things are different, because while The Long Ranger goes into to the tank, Despicable Me 2 is going on to glory. Meanwhile, as all this is going on, Kevin Hart and Lionsgate are making millions off of a small, $750,000 investment. Box office geeks rejoice!
Our number one film of the weekend is Despicable Me 2, the follow up to the very successful Universal original. The original Minion movie earned $56.4 million over its opening weekend in 2010, and went on to earn $250 million stateside and almost $300 million overseas. With the sequel, the original’s opening weekend gross was out-earned by 9 p.m. on Thursday, and after only five days of release, the sequel has pulled in well over half of the original’s entire domestic gross already. Despicable Me 2 earned $58.8 million via Tuesday midnight shows, a huge Wednesday, and a predictably slower Thursday, as July 4th is a bit of a box office anti-holiday. Gru and company earned $34.3 million through Tuesday previews and Wednesday, then dropped 29% on Thursday to $24.5 million. The Friday gross matched the opening Wednesday gross (without the Tuesday previews), coming in at an awesome $30.2 million.
Over the weekend proper, Despicable Me 2 earned an amazing $82.5 million, which gives the Universal release an amazing five-day Independence Day total of $142.1 million. Universal and tracking were looking for a five-day haul in the $100 million area (or slightly below), so to trounce expectations at this level is astounding. Tracking firms have had a rough summer. The Friday-to-Sunday take was the third biggest July 4th weekend ever, behind only behemoths like Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($97.9 million three-day, $162.6 million five-day) and Spider-Man 2 ($88.2 million three-day, $152.4 million five-day). The fourth biggest is now the original Transformers, which took in $70 million over three days, and $155 million over five. With this result, Despicable Me 2 is guaranteed a $300 million plus domestic result, will become be one of the top three Universal titles ever (the original sits at sixth all-time for Universal) and should be the second biggest title of the summer, behind only Iron Man 3.
Not only is Despicable Me 2 hugely successful, it wasn’t made with the extravagant budget we see from Pixar event films (or Disney westerns starring Johnny Depp). The Universal and Illumination Entertainment production was made for a comparatively tiny $76 million, a number the film beat at the box office by Friday morning. As a comparison, Spider-Man 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon had $200 million budgets; Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 both cost $200 million and Brave cost $185 million. Shrek 4 cost $165 million, Shrek 3 $160 million, and Shrek 2 was $150 million. The original Despicable Me cost $69 million to make in 2010, so they used the same financial model and have found a lot more success.