With Gru and the minions returning, “Despicable Me 3” has launched with an impressive $4.1 million at 4,020 North American locations in Thursday night previews.
New Line’s R-rated comedy “The House,” starring Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell, took in $800,000 in previews.
Illumination and Universal’s threequel is expected to provide plenty of fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday weekend as it opens at 4,529 locations Friday. “Despicable Me 3” has been forecast to take in $90 million to $100 million during the Friday-Sunday period, with the studio estimating a slightly lower take of around $85 million.
The franchise has been a powerful performer with a combined $955 million domestically and $2.7 billion worldwide for 2010’s “Despicable Me,” 2013’s “Despicable Me 2,” and 2015’s “Minions” spinoff. “Despicable Me 2” opened with $143 million in its first five days on July 3-7, 2013; “Minions” grossed an eye-popping $115 million in its July 10-12 domestic launch two years ago.
Steve Carell voices protagonist Gru and his twin brother Dru in “Despicable Me 3” as the siblings team up for a criminal heist while the minions are imprisoned. “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker joins the franchise to voice new villain Balthazar Bratt. Critics are mostly positive with a current 63% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The House” is expected to open moderately with forecasts in the $13 million to $16 million range at 3,134 locations, while the studio has projected a slightly lower estimate of $12 million to $14 million. “The House,” co-financed and co-produced by Village Roadshow, centers on a husband and wife starting an underground casino to raise money for their daughter’s college tuition.
Critics have shown little affection for “The House” with a 15% “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” has driven to a respectable $5.7 million at 3,226 North American locations on its first day on Wednesday, then took in $3.3 million Thursday. The studio is projecting an opening in the $15 million range for the five-day Wednesday-Sunday period, while other pre-release forecasts have been in the $20 million area.
Warner Bros.’ fifth weekend of “Wonder Woman” and Paramount’s second weekend of “Transformers: The Last Knight” will also be contending against “Baby Driver” and “The House” for second place this weekend. “Wonder Woman” took in $2.7 million on Thursday, its 28th day in release, to top $330 million in domestic box office.