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Weekend Box Office: Despicable Me 2 Dominate as Lone Ranger Stumbles

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By Chris Kavan - 07/08/13 at 12:59 AM CT

It was a very long five-day holiday weekend and overall, things still great for the 2013 summer season. The total box office took in nearly $220.7 million - enough to crack the top 10 for the best weekends ever. In fact, in the three out of the last four weekends, the box office total has ranked in the top 20 openings of all time. Salvaging that weak start is a tough task, but it is looking increasingly like 2013 will be ahead of last year if it continues to crank out weekends like this.

1) DESPICABLE ME 2

With Monsters University taking the top spot two weeks in a row, another animated family-friendly film was able to knock it off that perch. The Minions were back in full force as the sequel took in $82.5 million for the weekend and $142.1 million since opening on Wednesday. That opening total managed to edge out Toy Story 3 ($141 million) for the best five-day start for any animated picture. The holiday certainly helped, but the best news is that its weekend total completely obliterated the opening of the original Despicable Me ($56.4 million), meaning that awareness of the series is off the charts. Audiences were more female (60%) and younger (56% under 25) and they awarded it a fantastic "A" cinemascore, which should help the film cross the $300 million, and a $400 million total isn't out of the question either.

2) THE LONE RANGER

Those wondering whether Johnny Depp could make lightning strike twice by jump-starting another franchise had to be disappointed (along with Disney) this weekend. The Lone Ranger only managed to bank $48.9 million ($29.4 million for the weekend) in its opening run. In terms of westerns, it had an exceptional opening - but that's not saying much, as westerns in general fare poorly at the box office. More comparisons are being made to John Carter rather than Pirates of the Caribbean, considering its reported $215 million budget. When the original Pirates opened, it had already taken in $70 million - and great word-of-mouth helped it to grow quickly. But Lone Ranger has been getting scathing reviews and audience gave it a rather mediocre B+ Cinemascore. It might break $100 million - but don't expect it to go much beyond that. Tonto won't be able to launch this franchise, I'm afraid.

3) THE HEAT

The Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy comedy fell just over 36% and wound up in the third position with $25 million for the weekend. All told, it has brought in $86.4 million since opening and it should join the $100 million club by next weekend. That hold is better than Ted (which fell 41% in its second weekend) and, should the film follow that example, a total in the $160 million range is likely.

4) MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Given the onslaught from Despicable Me 2, it's not a big surprise the only other animated film took a big 57% hit. Don't feel too bad, Monsters University joined ten other Pixar films in the $200 million club, as its $19.6 million weekend helped it climb to $216.1 million. Although it's looking like it won't be able to hit that $300 million mark - Pixar has nothing to be crying about here.

5) WORLD WAR Z

Also hitting a milestone was the Brad Pitt zombie film World War Z. At $18.2 million in fifth place, the film dropped just over 38% in its third weekend and crossed the $150 million mark to wind up at $158.7 million. That $200 million mark is still a likely target for the film.

Outside the top 10: Opening to the tune of $17.4 million ($10.1 million for the weekend) Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain had an impressive 8th-place debut in just 876 theaters. That total more than doubled the total amount that Hart's Laugh At My Pain stand-up concert film brought in back in 2011. That total also puts the film at the fifth most popular stand-up comedy film of all time and it will have no problem moving up at least to fourth - and could go even higher if it expands and audiences turn out.

In Indie release news, The Way, Way Back opened in just 19 theaters but had a spectacular $30,263 per-theater average. The $575,000 it took in was good enough for 13th place.

Next week sees the opening of Guillermo Del Toro's giant robot/monster extravaganza Pacific Rim along with the comedy Grown-Ups 2 and the highly-acclaimed drama Fruitvale Station.

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