Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Despicable Me vs. Twilight: Eclipse, Predators vs. Toy Story 3


A low point in Internet pornography, no doubt.

This weekend was definitely the weekend to wear shades indoors. Three of the top five money earners had the option of watching the film in 3D. All three were geared towards families and two were computer animated. Between Despicable Me‘s $60.1 million and Toy Story 3‘s $22 million it was hard to avoid kids wearing 3D glasses. Universal’s release of Despicable Me was the studio’s best weekend performer of the year – surpassing Robin Hood‘s $36 million opening. It was also a certifiable hit for Universal’s fledgling animation department which is trying to compete with the big boys: Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks. Among the animated films in its library are Curious George, The Tale of Despereaux, and Coraline, which Despicable Me looks to outgross by this time next week. The $60.1 million opening made it the ninth film this year to have a three-day weekend of at least $50 million.

It didn’t take Toy Story 3 long to surpass Alice in Wonderland as the year’s top-grossing film. At $340 million is has leapfrogged Alice‘s $334 million domestic gross. The biggest winner is Disney in all this. Now the studio can gloat that it has the two highest-grossing films of 2010. Both will probably be #1 and #2 for the rest of the year. It’s only true competition will come in November when Warner Bros. releases the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. With audiences buying into the 3D gimmick (as the surcharge for tickets prove) studios will continue to exploit it to the nth degree in attempts to dominate the box office.

As for the third movie that had the option to watch it in 3D, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender finished the weekend with $17.1 million. That’s a 57.5% drop from its opening weekend bow of $40 million. Bad word of mouth and a crowded theater market isn’t helping the cause any. It only has $10 million from foreign grosses, but the film will expand to territories like Germany and France later this month and early into August. Sitting at $100 million, that’s enough for the film to be Paramount’s fifth-best release of 2010. Yet, three in that top five are merely distribution (Iron Man 2 is a Marvel property and Shrek Forever After and How to Train Your Dragon are DreamWorks).

The fur may have flown in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but the film has yet to lose its fang-clenched hold of the box office top five. Coming in second place with $33.4 million, the movie now stands at $237 million. When New Moon was released back in November it made $236 million in the same time frame. Even though Eclipse was a costlier production, the $237 million is a win for Summit Entertainment. July is a crowded month for new releases, so to earn $237 million in 12 days is an extraordinary accomplishment. Worldwide it has earned $456 million.

Robert Rodriguez’s attempt to revive the Predator franchise was met with a third place finish and $25.3 million. While lower than most summer bows, you have to consider its R rating and that it opened on less than 2,700 screens. Comparatively, Alien Vs. Predator opened in 2004 to the tune of $38.3 million, however it was rated PG-13. The original Predator cost $15 million and Predators production budget is a reported $40 million. Combined with overseas totals and the film is already at $43 million. It may do enough to make $85-90 worldwide, but I don’t see this one eclipsing $100 million. Still, not bad for Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios and its first film distributed through 20th Century Fox.

Other notables in the bottom half of the top ten include Grown Ups with $16.4 million. The comedy has grossed $111 million since its opening. It’s Adam Sandler’s eleventh film in twelve years to make more than $100 million worldwide. The Karate Kid finishes the weekend in eighth place with $5.7 million. More importantly, it has earned close to $165 million in the U.S., and it has yet to reach some of the major markets overseas. If it’s not the biggest box office surprise of 2010 so far, then it is second to How to Train Your Dragon.

Looking to limited releases, the Duplass brothers’ comedy Cyrus maintained its tenth place spot, adding 123 screens, to bring its two-week gross to $3.5 million. The Girl Who Played with Fire opened in eleventh place with $762,000. The movie that is getting tons of indie buzz is The Kids Are All Right. Playing on seven screens it earned $505,000, which makes its per-screen average the top leader for the week with $72,143. If it follows a roll out pattern like Fox Searchlight’s Little Miss Sunshine, this could make a tidy sum when it’s all said and done.

1. Despicable Me – $60.1 million ($60.1 million)
2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $33.4 million ($237 million)
3. Predators – $25.3 million ($25.3 million)
4. Toy Story 3 – $22 million ($340 million)
5. The Last Airbender – $17.2 million ($100 million)
6. Grown Ups – $16.4 million ($111 million)
7. Knight & Day – $7.9 million ($61.9 million)
8. The Karate Kid – $5.7 million ($165 million)
9. The A-Team – $1.8 million ($74 million)
10. Cyrus – $1.4 million ($3.5 million)


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