Despicable Decent, Baby Driver Revs It Up
By John Hamann
July 2, 2017
Maybe we needed more Minions.
Anyone hoping that a Despicable Me 3 breakout was going to liven up the summer box office is going to have to wait until next weekend for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Illumination/Universal product did not break out this weekend. The better news is that smaller entertainment for adults actually worked. Films like Baby Driver, The Beguiled, and The Big Sick worked to different degrees, which is somewhat rare in the height of summer. Edgar Wright's Baby Driver finally gives one of the better directors working today (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) some box office success, and given its strong reviews and Cinemascore, there is no reason this can't be the alt-hit of the summer. The other good news in the top ten this weekend? Wonder Woman. The DC property enjoys one of the bigger fifth weekends ever - bigger than Beauty and the Beast, Iron Man, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
There were more than a few that were hoping that Gru, his girls and the Minions might break the box office out of its slump, what with the first two Despicables and Minions averaging $85 million opening weekends, and 2015's Minions starting with $115 million. However, franchise fatigue is either settling in or is on the horizon, as this is the third Despicable Me/Minions movie released since July 2013. Despicable Me 3 got started with $4.1 million from previews on Thursday. Despicable Me 2 offered no comparison, as it opened on a Wednesday, but it was a step down from Minions preview amount of $6.2 million, which is the record for an animated film. This alone foreshadowed a debut below $100 million, and the combined Thursday/Friday take at $29.2 million sealed it. With kids out of school, there was no wild 4.0 weekend multiplier coming to save the day, but at least with July 4th landing on a Tuesday, barbecues and fireworks weren't going to cause a hole in the box office. Minions had a Thursday/Friday of $46 million, Despicable Me 2 opened on a Wednesday, and had a $30.5 million Friday on its way to an $83.5 million three-day, and the original had an opening Friday of $21.3 million, as it moved toward a $56.4 million three-day. At this point, things were neither bad nor good for Despicable Me 3 after previews and its first Friday.
After one day, the third film was behaving like the second Despicable Me, save for the almost $60 million the second film earned before it even got to opening weekend, as it opened on a Wednesday. The question was what impact the Wednesday opening had on the second film's Friday-to-Sunday. Despicable Me 2 dropped 4% on Saturday compared to Friday. Minions opened on a Friday, and if you pull the $6.1 million in previews from the Friday, the drop is just slightly smaller than Despicable Me 2. So how did the third Despicable Me flick behave? Quite a bit worse, actually. The third film earned $24.4 million on Saturday, off 16% from the Friday figure. The weekend estimate for Despicable Me 3 came in at $75.4 million. This is an okay start for the Universal/Illumination effort - particularly given the $75 million budget - but doesn't show growth in the franchise.