Universal’s Despicable Me is off to a great start, nearly doubling expectations with a $60.1 million opening, and Fox’s R-rated Predators managed a solid debut with $25.3 million. Both newcomers contributed to a weekend up 41% from last year, while attendance is still down.
The 3D cartoon, starring Steve Carell, is Universal’s first animated feature with its animation subsidiary Illumination Entertainment and its critical and commercial success spell good things to come from that department. It’s also the latest success story for a family film in 2010, which has capitalized on a weak season and a booming 3D market.
Meanwhile, Fox’s alien ensemble flick, produced by Robert Rodriguez with an impressively small $40 million budget, managed to overcome skepticism after two unwatchable Alien vs. Predator movies.
Sandwiched in between was last weekend’s hit The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with another $33.4 million in second place. The third installment of the teen vampire series is showing signs of slowing, but it has already earned $237 million (domestic) and $456 million worldwide. It’s number one overseas due to the World Cup siphoning off male moviegoers.
The Kids are All RightFocus Features’ Sundance pick-up The Kids are All Right averaged $72,143 in seven locations. That’s the biggest per theater average this year.
Toy Story 3 added $22 million in fourth place, officially becoming the highest-grossing film (domestic) in Pixar’s history with a $340.2 million total. It’s also the biggest movie of 2010.
M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender dropped 58% to $17.2 million, but not before crossing the $100 million mark. Another disappointing movie destroyed by word of mouth but kept alive by 3D.
Knight and Day ($7.9M) and The A-Team ($1.8M) still have some work to do if they’re going to reach their $110 million budget. Both are fading fast.
DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After slipped out of the top ten as it was pulled from more theaters, ending its run as the lowest grosser of the Shrek series. Jonah Hex is completely gone from theaters, pulled after only three weekends and a domestic total of only $10 million.