Animation continued to dominate at the box office this past week, all thanks to Illumination’s hotly anticipated Despicable Me 2, which did quite well over the weekend whilst breaking a record. The previous #1 film was Pixar’s Monsters University, which had been holding the top position since it opened. How about that? Two animated films opening at #1, with no live action film taking the #1 spot between the releases of both! Not to mention, both films opened big.
Starting off with an excellent $83 million, Despicable Me 2 claimed the biggest opening weekend for an animated film this year and it’ll keep that honor since the other films that are coming out later this year won’t come close. It also took in an impressive $143 million for the 5-day gross (since it opened on Wednesday), the biggest for an animated film yet. That just barely topped the previous record held by Toy Story 3, but despite this big opening, the film probably won’t gross as much as that Pixar sequel domestically. Still, a gross of over $300 million stateside is in play, which will make this film 2013’s animation box office champion in North America. Worldwide is a different beast, since Monsters University (which looks it’ll miss $300 million stateside) might beat it in the long run.
Speaking of Monsters University, it took a slight beating from this expectedly huge sequel. It dipped a not-so-good 56% this weekend as the film now has made $216 million domestically and $400 million worldwide (and it’s not even out in some territories yet!), but it should recoup next weekend since the word of mouth was very strong for this film, plus Despicable Me 2 has other competition. Films like Turbo, The Smurfs 2 and Planes will be a challenge because the family audiences will go to those if the word of mouth is good (plus, kids are geared up for The Smurfs 2 and Planes, both being from familiar brands), whilst adults should stay for Monsters University and Despicable Me 2. Both films have the adult appeal, and their opening weekends prove it. But the family audience chunk might be taken from Despicable Me 2 and Pixar’s prequel.
Or maybe not! This is the first time so many high profile big release animated films have opened so close to each other (a total of 5!), so the next couple of weeks may be unpredictable. Who knows what’ll happen to the films that are already playing, and the ones that are just coming out. Anyways, Monsters University may end up missing $300 million domestically, but the total it’ll end up getting is still going to be great and both Disney and Pixar will be more than happy. Despicable Me 2 proved that its franchise is a monster, and you can expect next year’s Minions (opening December 19, 2014) to also be a smash hit. Illumination and Universal certainly played their cards right with the first film!
Then we get to the unfortunate Epic. The Blue Sky-produced film has currently made a rather disappointing $104 million domestically, making it their lowest grossing film to date. Fortunately, it has more than doubled its $93 million budget with a $236 million worldwide gross. If only the more interesting Leaf Men title had been kept, and had Fox did a better job with the marketing, maybe the distributor and the studio would’ve had a real hit on their hands… Maybe…
Are you surprised that Despicable Me 2 did that good? Or were you expecting it to be huge? Do you think Monsters University still has a shot at making $300 million domestically? How big do you think Minions will be at the box office? Sound off!