Weekend Box Office: ‘Despicable’ Respectable In Debut While ‘Baby’ Revs Up Surprise Opening

Multiplexes across North America saw some welcome but far from spectacular movie fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Universal’s Despicable Me 3 opened with respectable numbers in first. Sony’s Baby Driver cruised in style into a second place finish while Warner’s The House was condemned in sixth. Despite the decent openings for DM3 and Baby Driver, the 2017 holiday frame trailed last year’s middling numbers by 11%.

It was a bit of “good/not so good” news for Universal’s Despicable Me 3. On the plus side, the latest Gru epic brought in a solid $75.4 million from a record-setting theater count of 4,529. DM3 also scored an estimated $95.6 million from international markets. Combined with the $20 million brought in from early release in several foreign markets and you have a global premiere just shy of $200 million. Critics gave Despicable Me 3 a lukewarm 62% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes while ticket buyers polled by CinemaScore bestowed the cartoon with an “A-“ grade.

So what is the “not so good” news for the film, you might be asking? Simple: Despicable Me 3 is the latest sequel this summer showing signs of franchise fatigue. The film opened well, no two ways around it. However, it did also open well below both 2013’s Despicable Me 2’s and 2015’s Minions. Further fueling the speculation that America’s love affair with the series might be on the wane is the 16% decrease in business from Friday-to-Saturday.

Revving its engine loudly in second place was Sony’s Baby Driver with an estimated $30 million for its first five days on 3,226 theaters. For the Friday-to-Sunday period, the film earned an estimated $21 million. The acclaimed Edgar Wright feature earned a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A-“ from CinemaScore, which should help fuel the $34 million production to wind up with a final domestic gross north of $80 million. Sony has steadily built up the buzz on Baby Driver ever since it played the SXSW Film Festival several months ago.

After scoring a franchise low debut one week ago, Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight continued its quick trip into oblivion this weekend. The $217 million Michael Bay film slid from first to third place with $17 million brought in from 4,132 screens. Off 62%, The Last Knight has earned an anemic –for an expensive production like this- $102 million. Optimus Prime is looking at a final domestic tally just north of $130 million, which is a massive $115 million less than what Age of Extinction brought in three summers ago.

The Last Knight’s international cume currently stands at $327 million, of which China has contributed $198 million. Speaking of the Middle Kingdom, even they seem to have had enough. In its second weekend, the film collapsed 76% at the Chinese box office.

Warner’s Wonder Woman is still going strong in its fifth week, landing in fourth place with an estimated $16.1 million from 3,404 screens. Off 35%, Wonder Woman has brought in $346.6 million to date domestically and an additional $362 million from overseas. The Patty Jenkins feature has passed both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad domestically to become the biggest hit of the DC Expanded Universe franchise. Should it continue to hang tough at the multiplex, it could wind up passing Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two to become the biggest hit of the 2017 summer movie season.

Cooling off faster than your typical Pixar feature in fifth place was Cars 3. The Disney/Pixar threequel encountered engine trouble in its third round on 3,576 screens, where it earned an estimated $9.5 million. Down a precipitous 60%, the domestic total for the third and presumably final Lightning McQueen epic stands at a middling $121 million. With not much left in the box office tank, Cars 3 should cruise to a final domestic haul around $145 million.

The third and final new release this weekend was the Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy The House, which crapped out in sixth place with a terrible $9 million from 3,134 theaters. Critics weren’t shown the Warner/New Line comedy ahead of time, which is never a good sign. Once they did, they quickly proceeded to condemn this House with a dismal 16% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ticket buyers polled by CinemaScore were only a little kinder to the film. They gave the movie a grade of “B-“. The House is the latest R-rated comedy to tank at the box office this year following the dismal performances of Baywatch, CHIPS, Snatched, Fist Fight and last month’s Rough Night.

  1.  47 Meters Down (Entertainment) $4.68 million (-34%); $32.5 million
  2.  The Beguiled (2017) $3.25 million; $3.6 million
  3.  The Mummy (2017) (Universal) $2.7 million (-54%); $74.5 million
  4.  Pirates of the Carribean: DMTNT (Disney) $2.4 million (-55%); $165 million

Next weekend sees the return of Spider-Man to movie screens worldwide in the Sony/Marvel flick Spider-Man: Homecoming. Currently, the return of the teen superhero is pegged for a domestic opening around the $100 million mark.

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