Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

July 9, 2013

Winning looks painful.

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Kim Hollis: Despicable Me 2 had a massive Fourth of July long holiday weekend, opening to $83.5 million from Friday-to-Sunday and accruing $142.4 million since its Wednesday debut. How was Universal able to achieve such an awesome result?

Jay Barney: The result for Despicable Me is truly remarkable. The size of this opening is shocking and validates something I have been harping about for the last several weeks. The number of family-friendly kid’s films should increase. The market is clearly there. Especially on holiday weekends, but also during regular openings, going to the movies has become an event. Bringing the family to movies like this is the definition of a family outing. During the 4th of July families with kids turned out in droves to take it in, and Universal’s hot streak continues in a very big way.

To beat the tracking estimates by one third is awesome, especially considering this was a period everyone was focused on. I’m sure Universal would have been pleased with a little over $100 million, but numbers like this are outstanding. Joining Transformers Dark of the Moon, the Original Transformers, and Spider-Man 2 as the largest Independence Day openings ever is impressive. I think by the end of this discussion we will have used up all of the positive descriptors to Despicable Me’s start. Jaw dropping? Unbelievable? Eye popping?


I think what the story will quickly become is just how high this film can go. The $76 million budget is also an intriguing figure. Even with marketing costs the real price tag here can’t be much more than $150 million. If you take in the international gross Despicable Me 2 has already DOUBLED that figure. It is a juggernaut and will be over the $400 million mark globally very soon. To be talking about those amounts so quickly into its run is a mark of just how popular this film is.

Edwin Davies: I was really surprised that, going into the holiday, people were estimating that Despicable Me 2 would "only" make $100 million or so over the five days. That really seemed to be low-balling it to me, considering just how much awareness there has been for the movie in the last few months, and particularly in the last two weeks. Universal did an amazing job making sure everyone knew that this movie was coming out, with ads and promotional deals coming from every direction, but more importantly they played to the strengths of the franchise. They knew they had a first film that did spectacularly well considering its relative lack of pedigree, a film that has built an even bigger audience over time and has sold a hell of a lot of merchandise, and that all they needed to do was remind people what they liked so much about the first film and they would be golden. They did that a year ago by releasing a teaser trailer which was just the Minions singing and messing around, and they continued to do it in all the advertising by emphasizing the Minions, who were the breakout stars of the first film, and giving a general sense of the plot. But most importantly, the message of the marketing was: More Minions, Yay! And they hit that message home very well and often, presenting the film as basically the only viable option this weekend that could appeal to the whole family. It's just an amazing job all round.

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