Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2″ bows in China this weekend heading for first place with an expected roughly $13.8 million.

The Universal-Illumination toon opened Friday to $4 million at 3,000 locations, 141 of which were Imax screens. This bow comes seven months after the worldwide release of the film and beats similar 2013 bows “Monsters University” ($13.2 million), “The Croods” ($6.4 million) and “The Smurfs 2″ ($10.1 million).

The numbers are particularly interesting given the film’s predecessor, 2010’s “Despicable Me,” never opened in China.

The bow comes just one week after China’s film bureau announced that 2013 represented a 28% uptick in box office gross over 2012, making it the second largest worldwide market after North America with $3.53 billion in annual sales.

The weekend estimate will bring the film’s worldwide total to $935 million, the fourth highest on record for an animated film after “Toy Story 3″ ($1.06 billion), “The Lion King” ($987.5 million) and “Finding Nemo” ($936.7 million).

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