Photo Courtesy of Universal Studios
NEW YORK -- The minions of "Despicable Me 2" ran away with the July 4th box office, leaving the Johnny Depp Western "The Lone Ranger" in the dust.
According to studio estimates Sunday, the Universal animated sequel took in $82.5 million over the weekend and $142.1 million across the five-day holiday window.
Gore Verbinski's reimagining of the iconic lawman bombed for the Walt Disney Co., opening with just $29.4 million over the weekend, and a disappointing $48.9 million since Wednesday.
The trouncing for Disney was especially painful because of the high cost of "The Lone Ranger," which reportedly cost at least $225 million to make.
Made by the same team that created the lucrative Disney franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean" (the four film series that grossed $3.7 billion worldwide) the Western drew bad reviews and failed to capture the attention of younger moviegoers.
Universal made "Despicable Me 2" for the comparatively small amount of $76 million (a figure that doesn't count a huge marketing budget).
The far-better than expected haul firmly establishes "Despicable Me," which stars Steve Carell as a diabolical villain turned stay-at-home dad, as a new franchise for Universal and Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment, the Universal-backed animation company.
Stand-up Kevin Hart's concert documentary "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" proved savvy counter-programming for Summit Entertainment, opening with $17.5 million over five days and $10.1 million over the weekend.
Fox Searchlight's family comedy "The Way, Way Back" (which also stars Carell) opened in 19 theaters with a strong theater average of about $30,000. It slowly expands for a July 26 national release.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. "Despicable Me 2," $82.5 million. 2. "The Lone Ranger," $29.4 million ($24.3 million international). 3. "The Heat," $25 million. 4. "Monsters University," $19.6 million. 5. "World War Z," $18.2 million. 6. "White House Down," $13.5 million. 7. "Man of Steel," $11.4 million. 8. "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," $10.1 million. 9. "This Is the End," $5.8 million. 10. "Now You See Me," $2.8 million.