Despicable Me 3 took the crown at the box office on the weekend before the Fourth of July in a laugher, obliterating the competition with an opening at about $82 million, good for the sixth biggest opening weekend of the year. That figure is roughly on par with Despicable Me 2, although it lags well behind the Minions movie, which put up a $115 million opening weekend in July of 2015. It also continues the undefeated streak for Illumination Entertainment, which makes computer animated films for about half of what Pixar does and still earns roughly as much money (in addition to the Despicable Me universe, Illumination is also responsible for Sing and Secret Life of Pets). It’s a winning brand, and while their movies may not appeal to adults as much as the Pixar movies do, the kids love these films.
Kid-fare aside, this weekend was really all about Edgar Wright and his fantastic new movie Baby Driver, the coolest movie of the summer. Questionable title aside (anecdotally speaking, there was a weird amount of market confusion with the animated film Boss Baby), the film not only earned Edgar Wright the best opening weekend of his career (by a long shot), it’s $27 million is only $4 million short of the biggest cumulative gross for any film Wright has directed (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World earned $31 million in 2010.) It’s also a big statement film for Hollywood, after Baby Driver reiterated the point that Get Out made earlier this year: Audiences will still show up for original films as long as they’re good, and Baby Driver is one of the best movies of the year. It’s also a statement film for Wright himself, who was booted from Ant-Man a few years back, but Baby Driver proves he’s still got the goods. Edgar Wright won’t say it himself, but this movie represents something of a “f**k you” to Ant-Man. That 97 percent from Rotten Tomatoes has to be feeling pretty great to go along with the $27 million the film put in the bank this weekend.
Meanwhile, Transformers: The Last Knight continues to limp at the box office, as franchise fatigue sets in, dropping 64 percent with a meager $16 million second weekend. After ten days, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen earned $291 million. Meanwhile, The Last Knight has only earned $101 million in the same time frame. Michael Bay, however, can still bank on international markets, where it earned $200 million in its opening week alone.
Fourth place goes to the record-setting Wonder Woman, which continues to move right along, adding another $15 million this weekend. It’s scored $345 million this weekend, and in addition to being the highest-grossing live-action movie ever by a female director, it’s now the highest-grossing movie in the DC Extended Universe, having surpassed both Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad.
Cars 3 lands in fifth place this weekend, falling to $10 million after Despicable Me 3 took a bite out of its audience. It’s earned $121 million domestically, so far, but it will do fine once all that international money starts to roll in.
In at sixth place is the weekend’s huge disappointment, The House, which cost more to make than Baby Driver ($40 million to $34 million) and featured bigger stars (Will Ferrel, Amy Poehler), but made only a fraction of the Edgar Wright film, finishing the frame with a measly $9.3 million. How bad is that? For a frame of reference, it’s less than what Will Ferrell’s first major movie, A Night at the Roxbury, earned back in 1998 in its opening weekend. Excluding low-budget films and supporting roles, it’s also the smallest opening weekend of Will Ferrell’s career. The biggest disappointment for me is that The House could have been a major break-out role for Jason Mantzoukas, who absolutely deserves it. Unfortunately, the script didn’t do Mantzoukas any favors. It is a rotten movie (in fact, it’s sitting at 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned a poor B- from Cinemascore).
The rest of the top ten looks like this: 47 Meters Down added $4.6 million, and with only a $5 million budget, it’s something of a sleeper hit for Mandy Moore. Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled went from four to 674 theaters and earned $3.5 million; The Mummy added $2.7 million to bring its total to $75 million (plus $275 million worldwide) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales added $2.4 million for a total of $165 million (plus $520 million internationally).
It is also very much worth noting that Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick expanded into 71 theaters this weekend and earned $1.5 million, as it continues to perform incredibly well in limited release. It should expand nationwide in two weeks. See it. It could not only end up being a sizable box-office hit, it may even earn some Oscar consideration this awards season. Also, Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon (who co-wrote the autobiographical film) are good people, and it’s great to see good people find success.