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‘Despicable Me 3’ Tops Weekend, But Real Winner Is ‘Baby Driver’

There was never any doubt in anyone’s mind that the latest adventure of Gru and the Minions would dazzle audiences. However, there was a rider on a pale white horse that stole a mighty large slice of the box office away from Despicable Me 3 this weekend and the rider’s name is Edgar Wright.

All numbers below are only of the three-day weekend and not representative of the overall Fourth of July holiday.

Despicable Me 3 cruised to first place with $75.4 million, easily swatting away the competition this weekend. Early estimates showed the latest adventures of super-genius Gru (and the lovable Minions) earning between $85 and $90 million but with the Fourth of July awkwardly on a Tuesday this year, perhaps audiences held off due to family plans or vacations. Or maybe the familiar theme of franchise fatigue slowed the film’s potential. All isn’t doom and gloom however, as Despicable Me 3 opened in several international markets across the last two weeks. Internationally Despicable Me 3 has taken in $116.9 million and an overall gross of $192.3 million, with the major foreign markets like Germany, France, and Spain launching this coming weekend. At least the film had a low $80 million budget and will have no problem churning out a profit for Universal. Still, as mentioned by The Hollywood Reporter, according to comScore the summer 2017 box office is lagging 8 percent behind last summer. The overall box office is now even with 2016 too, that in itself a very alarming sign that people are growing tired of the same franchises and want something new, something bold.

Though – in the defense of every movie in theaters this weekend – receipts on Saturday did slow, so perhaps it’s not the quality of the films being released. If the sun is shining, I’ll take a pool or beach day over an afternoon in a movie theater personally. Sorry, I squirreled. Back to business.

The real victor this weekend, though, wasn’t Illumination Entertainment’s latest foray into the world of super-criminal Gru. Instead, Baby Driver is the little movie that’s making a bigger splash that anticipated. Originally forecast to rake in roughly $20 million across its first five days, the latest from Edgar Wright (which I praised as both Wright’s foremost work and one of 2017’s best) earned $21 million over the weekend and $30 million overall since Wednesday. Made with just a $34 million budget, the second lowest of Wright’s career between 2010’s cult classic Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the Columbia/MRC production has already recouped its budget based on worldwide receipts alone. And the movie hasn’t even released in most foreign markets as of yet. Audiences have packed theaters based on glowing reviews and praising word of mouth, hungry for an original movie not part of franchise or cinematic universe. Baby Driver is the biggest hit of Wright’s career barely a week since release and will most assuredly be a surefire victory for Sony/Columbia, who has been starved for a hit. Maybe we can thank the painstaking care to the choreography – or the 30-song soundtrack that is the heart and soul of the movie – but Baby Driver will go down as one of 2017’s warmest surprises that finally launched Edgar Wright to mainstream theatrics.

Slipping just 62 percent was Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight. I say “just” because most sequels slide 67 percent on average in the second weekend. The Last Knight pulled in $17 million in theaters over the weekend. The bad news for the Paramount release is that franchise fatigue – or is it because critics forgetting what a popcorn film is all about – is that the latest Transformers movie has only earned $102 million domestically. Thankfully, the worldwide numbers are definitely good news. $327.8 million of the $429 million haul is from around the world, with an astounding $193.7 million earned in China alone. Bay did say he was going to leave the franchise after the fifth installment. While I had way too much fun with the sequel, I think I can safely say that maybe the time is right for him to walk away. Go off, do smaller passion projects, take a breather from his traditional Bayhem. Audiences clearly didn’t get his vision this time around and maybe a break is needed before the inevitable sixth film starts production.

Meanwhile, five weeks since initially releasing into theaters worldwide, Wonder Woman continues to dominate the box office charts. The latest installment of the DC Extended Universe lassoed another $16.1 million in domestic receipts, increasing its overall Stateside haul to $346 million. For those of you keeping track, the Patty Jenkins-helmed flick is officially the number one film in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Yes, over both Superman and Batman. That Rotten Tomatoes score has certainly helped but, really, strong word of mouth has kept Wonder Woman from slipping out of theaters. While holding the honor of the DCEU’s top domestic film, there’s only one hurdle left to leap – the $873 million worldwide that Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed last spring. Wonder Woman has already crossed $708 million worldwide – so passing Suicide Squad‘s $745 million is easier said that done – but there’s a ways to go to surpass Zack Snyder’s bloated mess.

Though, if you listen very quietly, somewhere you can find Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill both cowering when they realize the sad, sorry truth in the Rotten Tomatoes scores. That’s right – Wonder WomanLogan (easily one of the best overall films of 2017), and even the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming all are embraced lovingly by critics.

I take no credit for this but damn if I didn’t laugh regardless.

While every other movie in the top ten continued to draw in a wide variety of audiences – that’s right, Cars 3 (overall at $173.8 million and still rolling out in new territories) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (just $165.4 million domestic but an astounding $543.2 million the world round) are still selling tickets – there was one flat out bomb that we knew would happen. Warner Brothers, who’s been in a downward spiral save for Wonder Woman, saw Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler’s The House stumble out the gate with just $9 million in ticket sales. The opening is the worst of Will Ferrell’s career and continues the audience trend of rebelling against raunchy comedies.  Perhaps a very average-looking trailer didn’t help matters either or the movie’s plot centering a couple who open an underground casino to fund their daughter’s college tuition. The film didn’t even screen for critics prior to release, a telling sign Warner Brothers knew they had a turkey on their hands. Ferrell will bounce back, Poehler too, but I have to wonder if maybe bawdy comedies need a cooling off period.

Oh, and Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy? Well, there’s a somewhat positive note for Tom Cruise. At least your star power hasn’t waned overseas at all. ($275.1 million foreign receipts. $74 million domestic receipts. Sorry, Tom. But you’ll recover with Mission Impossible 6 next summer at least!)

Sony will look for two winning weekends in a row – yes, I know Despicable Me 3 took home the crown this weekend but was definitely not the real winner – when Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming drops this coming Friday. From writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the writers behind Horrible Bosses and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and directed by Jon Watts, who’s helmed Eli Roth’s Clown and critic darling Cop Car, the long-awaited inclusion of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been worshiped by critics and looks to finally nail the character down proper in tone and spirit. (I’ll have more on that next weekend. Spoilers, y’all.) As with each passing week my lingering question is how much longer audiences will continue to pony up their money for the same old, same old with the latest releases. June really changed the tide in a warmer direction, aside from the downright failure of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, and July has some interesting releases set to debut. Until next week Fan Fest family kick back, relax, set off some fireworks for the Fourth of July, and have yourselves a restful week!

1.) Despicable Me 3 – $75.4 million

2.) Baby Driver – $21 million  ($30 million since Wednesday 6/28)

3.) Transformers: The Last Knight – $17 million

4.) Wonder Woman – $16.1 million

5.) Cars 3 – $9.5 million

6.) The House (2017) – $9 million

7.) 47 Meters Down – $4.6 million

8.) The Beguiled – $3.2 million

9.) The Mummy – $2.7 million

10.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $2.4 million

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Jerrold Reber

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Jerrold spent his childhood in southeastern Pennsylvania ingesting far too many TV shows and movies, thus creating a stark-raving mad geek. He’s a movie aficionado, binge-watches Netflix, and is a total TV junkie. His addiction has led to an unhealthy and rabid obsession of various geek pantheons – Star Trek, Star Wars, both DC *AND* Marvel, cult 80's and 90's television, Supernatural, The X-Files, Doctor Who, and, and...holy overload. He's still waiting to run away in a 1967 Impala or a a blue police box.