Sunday, July 2, 2017
Unstoppable Me: 'Despicable Me 3' Opens Big
Well here we are, another weekend, another big-time animation release...
Despicable Me 3 easily took top shelf this weekend with a strong $72 million. Now this is indeed down from Despicable Me 2's $83 million take back in 2013, and several clicks below spin-off Minions' jumbo-sized opening... But no fretting, because I was actually expecting this all along. The Shrek trajectory...
Consider. Despicable Me, like Shrek, was like an out-of-nowhere sleeper hit. Good-sized opening, leggy run, popular hit. Despicable Me 2 arrived on time, just three years later, and was a rare sequel that outgrossed its predecessor by a country mile. The last time that ever happened in animation was with Shrek 2. Shrek 2 sold roughly 24 million more tickets than its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 sold 14 million more than the first one.
Expectedly, Shrek the Third failed to match the success of the second one in the long run. Despicable Me 3 looks to do the same, but still... $72 million is a great opening. I recently collected animated sequel data for what I hope is a helpful list, showing that this kind of thing is normal for animated movie franchises.
So no, not "sequel fatigue," as some are shouting. Do you really need to spend hours figuring out why Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Transformers 5 didn't impress? Prometheus 2- I mean, Alien: Convenant? Especially in a year where Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 matched the success of its predecessor and X-Men entry Logan did damn well. Fate of the Furious, the eight entry in a 16-year-old series, shows that the F&F franchise has lots of juice left.
Cars 3, on the other hand, is having trouble. The Pixar threequel (and their second threequel ever) fell nearly 60% to 5th place, probably because it lost plenty of screens and the new animated kid is on the block. I think in the coming weeks, it should stabilize, but at this point I see it missing $170 million domestically. It's still not out everywhere around the globe, either, so we just have to wait and see how it ends up doing. To break even, it has to make roughly $437 million worldwide. The original did that, without 3D and without IMAX, and like this new film, it's very American and not very universal... But if movie numero uno could gross $218 million overseas, this should make significantly more.
Even if it does come up short, I'm sure big Disney won't care a bit, toy sales are probably still monstrous. I am upset about this underperforming, and I am not, if that makes any sense. I felt Cars 3 really made up for the detour they took with Cars 2 (a film I still enjoy, mind you), was overall a solid picture, and it ended on a strong note. I don't really want a fourth Cars, necessarily, I'd rather see the series continue through shorts and maybe a television special, because I do want to see more of a certain someone that debuts in the movie. Only time will tell, but however it performs, it's no big deal for Pixar.
DreamWorks/Mikros' Captain Underpants took an even bigger hit, falling 73% and losing a good chunk of screens. It's at $69 million here and $76 million worldwide, just double the tiny budget. Again, it's not out in some key markets yet, so I'm currently confident that this one won't be a money-loser.
The other DreamWorks picture hung on, The Boss Baby only fell 30%. It looks to finish up with around $175-176 million when all is said and done, and it may just tip $500 million worldwide. Who knows, but still super-close.
... And I want to give a shout-out to a particular live-action film that debuted this past week... Edgar Wright's Baby Driver.
A critical darling, Mr. Wright has never really scored a box office smash in his career, but Baby Driver is already an inch away from outgrossing his biggest film: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. And get this, that was an adaptation, Baby Driver is an original story. A damn good original story at that. See the film, help it become a big success, and show Hollywood a thing or two. No really, it's actually that great of a movie. Wright directs with such verve, but it's really the editing and sound design that elevate what could've been another run-of-the-mill heist picture, and indeed the really strong script by Wright himself. The movie was like a fuel-injected turbo shot into the coffee. It pains me that his DreamWorks project is probably a no-go at this rate.
What say you on all this box office business?