despicable me 3 feature

Minions To The Rescue… Plus Other Movie News!

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Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers

Despicable Whee! 

The sequel slump ends here, thanks to some much-needed ha-ha hijinks courtesy of Illumination Entertainment’s chief mischief-makers, the Minions, in “Despicable Me 3.”

Universal’s third animated adventure in the series arrives this weekend–seven years after the original, and just in the nick of time. Outside “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” this summer’s continuing sagas have seriously been lagging behind their predecessors domestically, the latest underperformer being “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which debuted with less than half of “Age of Extinction.”

Now, it’s doubtful “DM3” will finish with $368M domestic like “DM2” did four years ago, but we won’t see the gargantuan drop offs we’ve experienced since May kicked off the summer session. A debut above $83M+ would place it on top of the heap, and in 4,300+ theaters it might just hit $85M.

While Steve Carell is superb as master villain Gru, he will always take a backseat to the adorbs banana-loving doofuses that really make this series hum. Don’t believe me? Well, two years ago, their spin-off movie grossed $1.1B worldwide, something “Despicable Me” hasn’t been able to achieve just yet, although the studio hit $960M with the last installment.

Universal has been able to tap into a very lucrative family marketplace, having even more success than DreamWorks lately, with animated fare like “The Secret Life of Pets”  and “Sing.” Showcasing a marketer’s dream team–Dave, Stuart, Kevin and Carl–has helped reach the merchandising masses…and those are the REAL masters the Minions will gladly serve for some time to come.

Writer/director Edgar Wright has always had pop culture swag in his back pocket, creating cult films like “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End.” But even though he’s one of the most talented and inventive filmmakers out there, he has yet to have a box office breakthrough. In fact, he’s never had a debut of over $10M.

The most commercial vehicle of his career might change that though, as “Baby Driver” debuted with $5.7M on Wednesday, which entered a crowded sequel marketplace like a breath of fresh air.

R-rated action comedies are often a tough sell, but reviews have been off the charts–98% fresh, best of the summer–and the eclectic cast featuring Jamie Foxx, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey help with the street cred.

In over 3,200+ theaters, expect WOM to spread like wildfire as Sony should see upwards of $17M this weekend and a steady, long run ahead.

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler have both had success with R-rated vehicles, “Sisters” for Poehler, and a couple for Farrell including “Get Hard” and “Step Brothers.”

Here, they team up for some home grown laughs as they start an illegal casino in their residence to pay for their son’s college tuition. Should be solid this weekend and through the holiday, as there is only one other major comedy release the entire summer in Universal’s “Girl Trip,” arriving at the end of July.

Shelf life is of the utmost importance over the summer, so even if “The House” cashes in with around $15M in its debut, it should be able to sit at the table for quite some time–just like $2 blackjack on Freemont Street. C’mon, it’s all about the free drinks, people.

Also, look for expansions from two high profile indie flicks: Lionsgate’s “The Big Sick” which works its way into 71 theaters, and Focus Features’ “The Beguiled.” Both rolled out in exclusive release last weekend and had excellent debuts.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Despicable Me 3 – $85M
  2. Baby Driver – $18
  3. Transformers 5 – $17M
  4. The House – $16M
  5. Wonder Woman – $14M

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CHINTZY CUT OF THE WEEK: Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (Dec. 20, 2017)

Any magic that the first one had seems blown to smithereens here, instead relying on the dwindling comic talents of Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne Johnson.

Johnson tanked with “Baywatch” earlier this summer, and looks like rolling the dice with this sequel/reboot will result in another misfire. Gotta be careful in Hollywood not to make a habit of that.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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Poster Image (Despicable Me 3) Courtesy of Universal Pictures; Poster Design by LA

despicable me 3 poster