LOS ANGELES The Minions are still a box office force and original stories are scoring big, but not the R-rated comedy — even with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler behind it.
Studio estimates on Sunday say Universal Pictures' and Illumination's "Despicable Me 3" earned $75.4 million over the weekend, while the former "Saturday Night Live" stars' gambling comedy, "The House," burned down.
Featuring the voices of Steve Carell and Trey Parker, "Despicable Me 3" easily topped the holiday weekend charts from 4,529 theaters in North America. While it's a far cry from the $115 million launch of "Minions" in 2015 and also lower than "Despicable Me 2," which opened to $83.5 million in 2013, $75 million is a number that Nick Carpou, president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution for Universal Pictures, will celebrate any day of the week.
(Universal Pictures is a unit of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)
Edgar Wright's original heist movie, "Baby Driver," coasted to $30 million in its first five days in theaters, with $21 million from the three-day weekend to take second place. Sony Pictures released the R-rated picture, which stars Jamie Foxx, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey and cost a reported $34 million to produce.
"How great it is to see audiences turn out to support original filmmaking," said Josh Greenstein, Sony's president of worldwide marketing and distribution. "They've made 'Baby Driver' the surprise hit of the summer, a true sleeper."
The R-rated film did well with critics and is one of a handful of original or independent films this weekend that are notable successes. Sofia Coppola's R-rated Civil War film, "The Beguiled," scored in its expansion from four to 674 theaters in its second weekend. It earned $3.3 million to take eighth place and bested franchise fare like "The Mummy" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," which were both playing in more than 1,670 theaters.
The well-reviewed romantic comedy "The Big Sick" also did good business in its expansion to 71 locations, earning $1.7 million. The R-rated film expands wide on July 14.
"The best box office stories are further down the chart. They are all benefiting from feeling like the kind of content people are responding to on the small screen," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore.
"Perhaps this is the summer where Hollywood finally starts emulating the small screen model of creating compelling original content in order to generate goodwill with audiences who have more options than ever before," he said.
Rounding out the top five were holdovers "Transformers: The Last Knight" in third, with $17 million, followed by "Wonder Woman," with $15.6 million, and "Cars 3," with $9.5 million.
Not so successful was the suburban gambling comedy "The House," which landed in sixth place, with only $9 million — one of the lowest showings of Ferrell's career and the latest in a string of R-rated comedies to tank at the box office following "Rough Night" and "Baywatch."
"The R-rated comedy used to be the antidote to the typical summer blockbuster, and now those films are having a tough time," Dergarabedian said, noting success stories like "The Hangover," "Bridesmaids" and "Neighbors."
"Now people feel like they've seen that movie before when they watch the trailer," he said. "They've lost interest."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- "Despicable Me 3," $75.4 million ($95.6 million international).
- "Baby Driver," $21 million ($6.8 million international).
- "Transformers: The Last Knight," $17 million ($68 million international).
- "Wonder Woman," $15.6 million ($13.6 million international).
- "Cars 3," $9.5 million ($5 million international).
- "The House," $9 million ($2.7 million international).
- "47 Meters Down," $4.7 million ($800,000 international).
- "The Beguiled," $3.3 million ($460,000 international).
- "The Mummy," $2.8 million ($10.3 million international).
- "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," $2.4 million ($16.3 million international).