WINNER OF THE WEEK: Steve Carell. The Despicable Me 2 supervillain/adoptive dad summoned his minions to the box office and scored a huge Independence Day weekend success. The cartoon comedy debuted with an estimated $85.2 million from Friday to Sunday and a five-day total of $142.1 in domestic grosses since the film’s release on Wednesday. Those are Pixar-sized numbers for the Universal animated sequel. Add to that the $151.1 million the movie has earned overseas, and you have a global total of $293.2 million. Clearly, Gru’s latest plan for world domination went off without a hitch.
If that weren’t enough, Carell also had the top art-house premiere this weekend with The Way, Way Back, which pulled in an estimated $575,000 on 19 screens, good for a debut at Number 14 on the chart. That’s $30,263 per screen, the highest average of any film currently playing. (Despicable Me 2, playing on nearly 4,000 screens, averaged $20,645 per venue.)
Meanwhile, June hits continued to hold on to their business. In third place, The Heat slipped just 36 percent from its initial take last weekend, earning another estimated $25.0 million, for a two-week total of $86.4 million. Last week’s winner, Monsters University, fell to fourth place and earned an estimated $19.6 million (down 57 percent from last week), for a three-week total of $216.1 million. At Number Five,World War Z scared up an estimated $18.2 million, a drop of 39 percent from a week ago, for a three-week total of $158.8 millon.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Johnny Depp. Who was that masked man? Not enough viewers cared to find out. The Lone Ranger was always going to have an uphill climb, what with Depp taking a backseat role as Tonto to the lower-wattage Armie Hammer in the lead role, with the generally poor track record for Westerns, and with all the bad buzz this behemoth has generated since its bloated ($225 million) budget became public knowledge, culminating in generally negative reviews. Still, audiences have been more forgiving than critics (given the movie’s B+ grade from CinemaScore), so the movie was expected to finish second to Despicable Me 2 and earn about $40 million from Friday to Sunday and $60 million over the five-day holiday weekend. Instead, it debuted with just an estimated $29.4 million from Friday to Sunday and just $48.9 million since Wednesday. Depp’s international star power was supposed to make up for a potentially weak domestic performance, but so far, the movie has earned just an estimated $24.3 million abroad, for a worldwide total of $73.2 million. Not even Depp can get viewers outside the United States to saddle up for a movie as distinctly American as a Western. It all adds up to a John Carter-sized flop for Disney, which would have had to see Lone Ranger earn nearly twice as much this weekend in order to have a hope of recouping its investment.
HART ATTACK: In what turned out to be a brilliant bit of counterprogramming to the family-friendly Despicable Me 2 and Lone Ranger, Kevin Hart unleashed his latest R-rated concert movie Let Me Explain on 876 screens. After his Laugh at My Pain scored $7.7 million two years ago without ever expanding to more than 287 screens, the popular stand-up comic was poised for an even bigger success this time, and he found it, to the tune of an estimated $10.1 million from Friday to Sunday and $17.5 million since it opened Wednesday. After five days, Let Me Explain is already the fifth-highest grossing stand-up comedy film of all time, and this week, it’ll pass Martin Lawrence’s Runteldat ($19.2 million) to become the fourth on the list.