Box office roundup – "Despicable Me 2" takes top spot, "Lone Ranger" settles for silver

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment The Minions party.
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment
The Minions party.

1. Despicable Me 2 – $82.5 million [opened Wednesday; $140 million] The Fourth of July marked a great holiday weekend for Gru and The Minions who had the year’s second best animated opening behind “Monsters University‘s” $84 million debut last month.

“Despicable Me” opened to a surprising $56 million in 2010 and the sequel has already made back its $76 million budget so this looks poised to easily become one of the year’s biggest hits as well as surpassing the original’s $251 million domestic take. With a Minions spin-off set for next December, things are looking great for Universal Pictures’ new franchise.

THE LONE RANGER2. The Lone Ranger – $29.4 million [opened Wednesday; $48.9 million] Johnny Depp couldn’t ride off in the sunset with his latest action/adventure, which is looking like it’s going to be a big disappointment for Walt Disney Studios.

Since the first “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003, Depp has been one of the more reliable blockbuster film actors, but he’s seen his star power fade some lately with the weak performances of his last two films “The Rum Diary” ($13 million) in 2011 and “Dark Shadows” ($79 million) and 2012. His most recent big-budget film was “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide,” which opened in 2011 to $90 million and finished with $243 million. It may be that audiences are finally starting to show some weariness to Depp’s wacky characters?

Regardless, the film reuniting Depp and his “Pirates” director Gore Verbinski isn’t gonna make up its $225 million budget.

the-heat-DF-01882_01861_RV2_rgb3. The Heat – $25 million [2nd week; $86 million] Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy ‘s buddy comedy didn’t wither in the face of the competition and held up pretty well. It already earned back its $43 million budget last weekend so now it’s just a question if this will be the highest grossing hit for its two leads.

Walt Disney Pictures Mike Wazowski has arrived—and Monsters University will never be the same.
Walt Disney Pictures
Mike Wazowski has arrived—and Monsters University will never be the same.

4. Monsters University – $19.6 million [3rd week; $224 million] Disney/Pixar’s animated film’s success should help soften the blow somewhat for “The Lone Ranger’s” disappointing performance for Disney as it closes in on $350 million worldwide.

I’m wondering now if Disney/Pixar thinks there’s enough of a story to tell to revisit Mike, Sulley and company for a third installment?

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), W.H.O. Doctor (Pierfrancesco Favino) and Segen (Daniella Kertesz).
Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures
Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), W.H.O. Doctor (Pierfrancesco Favino) and Segen (Daniella Kertesz).

5. World War Z – $18.2 million [3rd week; $166 million] Brad Pitt’s zombie flick is one of the summer’s most unlikely success stories despite the film’s production woes and now has reached a worldwide gross of over $300 million.

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