‘Despicable Me 2’ Edges Out Sandler Comedy, ‘Pacific Rim’

“Despicable Me 2” fought off two new releases, including science-fiction film “Pacific Rim,” to finish first at the box office in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second straight weekend with $43.9 million in sales.

Sony Corp.’s comedy “Grown Ups 2,” starring Adam Sandler, was second at $41.5 million, while “Pacific Rim,” director Guillermo del Toro’s action feature from Legendary Entertainment LLC and distributor Warner Bros., was third with $37.3 million, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in a statement. Both new films fell short of BoxOffice.com estimates.

“Pacific Rim,” made for $180 million, is the first big solo production from Legendary, which is seeking to develop its own library of characters and stories. With the high cost, “Pacific Rim” will need to do well overseas to avoid a loss, analysts have said. The weekend’s other new release, “Grown Ups 2” produced the second-best opening for Sandler.

Given the challenges of drawing audiences for a big-budget film with an original storyline and characters, “Pacific Rim” had a “solid opening weekend” and has a good chance for a sequel, said to Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of Boxofficeguru.com.

“It’s going to make the bulk of its money overseas, anyway -- this is a global film,” he said. Sandler, meanwhile, proved he can still pull in moviegoers, according to Pandya.

Family Man

“‘Grown Ups 2’ will be Sandler’s 14th $100 million film,” Pandya said. “There are very few stars who are that consistent over time.”

The film is a follow-up to 2010’s “Grown Ups,” also from Sony. In the sequel, Sandler plays a family man who returns to his hometown only to re-visit the travails and insecurities of his youth. The movie, made for an estimated $80 million, also features Kevin James, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek and David Spade.

While the film missed Boxoffice.com’s forecast of $47 million, it still represented a big opening for Sandler. His biggest, “The Longest Yard,” opened on Memorial Day weekend in 2005 with $47.6 million, according to Hollywood.com.

For “Pacific Rim,” solid reviews and social-media buzz, including praise from musician Kanye West, added momentum in the weeks before the opening, prompting Boxoffice.com, to raise its forecast to $41 million from $35 million. Earlier estimates had called for opening weekend sales in the low- to mid-$30 million range. Barton Crockett, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in New York, had estimated $32.2 million.

Sea Invaders

Legendary, the studio behind the film, said last week it will leave Warner in January for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures in a deal encompassing film, television and theme parks.

“Pacific Rim,” directed by the Oscar-nominated del Toro, features humans piloting skyscraper-sized robots to battle lizard-like invaders from the sea. The film stars Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman.

“Though ‘Pacific Rim’ grows battle weary, the elaborate visual effects by John Knoll and James E. Price reflect tireless imagination,” wrote Bloomberg News critic Greg Evans.

Rottentomatoes.com, a website that aggregates reviews, gave it a 72 percent positive rating.

“Despicable Me 2,” from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, is the fourth No. 1 opening for Universal this year, following “Fast & Furious 6,” “Identity Thief” and “Oblivion.”

Made for $76 million, “Despicable Me 2” set box-office records in its debut over the July 4 holiday weekend and has generated $228.4 million at domestic theaters so far.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 22 percent to $187.9 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Attendance and revenue year to date are both down less than 1 percent.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Hollywood.com Box-Office. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for July 12 through yesterday.

                      Rev.             Avg./   Pct.   Total
 Movie               (mln) Theaters  Theater   Chg.  (mln)   Wks
 1 DESPICABLE ME 2  $43.9    4,003  $10,965    -47   $228.4    2
 2 GROWN UPS 2       41.5    3,491   11,890     --     41.5    1
 3 PACIFIC RIM       37.3    3,275   11,385     --     37.3    1
 4 THE HEAT          14.0    3,128    4,476    -43    112.4    3
 5 THE LONE RANGER   11.5    3,904    2,947    -61     71.5    2
 6 MONSTERS U.       10.6    3,142    3,384    -46    237.8    4
 7 WORLD WAR Z        9.3    3,003    3,102    -49    177.0    4
 8 WHITE HOUSE DOWN   6.2    2,566    2,402    -54     63.0    3
 9 KEVIN HART         4.8      892    5,330    -53     26.1    2
10 MAN OF STEEL       4.7    2,150    2,195    -59    280.9    5
11 THIS IS THE END    2.9    1,394    2,045    -51     91.6    5
12 NOW YOU SEE ME     1.3      850    1,536    -54    113.3    7

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $187.9 $153.9 +22

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $6,016 $6,052 -0.6 Year-to-date Attendance: -0.3% Source: Hollywood.com Box-Office
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