It may be a down year for summer movies in general, but anything aimed explicitly at children—as opposed to, say, the numerous films that treat adults as children—has a fair shot at making a mint, provided it stays above the Marmaduke line. The Pixar-esque animated adventure Despicable Me opened far above industry expectations with $60.1 million in its opening weekend, nearly doubling the #2 movie in grosses and presenting a respectable challenge to more established animated franchises this summer like Shrek Forever and Toy Story 3. The week’s other new release, Predators, opened on about 1,000 fewer screens (none in 3-D) and posted a more modest $25.3 million for third, but the film’s frugal budget ($40 million roughly) suggests a solid single, if not a more substantial total. As expected, last week’s big winners took a major nosedive: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse dropped 48.5% from its July 4th bonanza, but still earned enough for second with $33.4 million. The news was much worse for The Last Airbender, which fell off an astonishing 57.5% from its opening week, taking $17.1 million for fifth and likely dashing any plans to continue the trilogy.
The real action this week was in limited release, however. The micro-indie Music Box Films continued to cash in on the Stieg Larsson phenomenon. Despite middling reviews, the second adaptation of Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy,” The Girl Who Played With Fire, opened just out of the Top 10 with $965,000 on only 110 screens, averaging $8773 per outlet. The news was also good for the warmly received Sundance favorite The Kids Are All Right, which posted an absurd $72,143 per screen on seven screens and positioned itself as 2010’s first Oscar contender.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.