“Despicable Me 2” is looking ready to dethrone “Monsters University” at the box office with a big Fourth of July weekend debut. The sequel to the hit family movie may earn more than $100 million during the holiday weekend. As for the other big debut, “The Lone Ranger” is expected to do well enough for second place, but doubt lingers over the film’s long-term prospects.
For “Despicable Me 2,” which features the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt and Russell Brand, it is not a question of if the film will win the lucrative Fourth of July box office but how much will it earn in its debut weekend. Variety and the Hollywood Reporter both have “Despicable Me 2” winning the weekend and both trades believe the movie will earn over $100 million at the end of the five-day weekend. Variety thinks the movie could reach $120 million while THR has “Despicable Me 2” earning $110 million.
“Despicable Me 2” and Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” opened early on Tuesday in advance of their official Wednesday debut, and the animated movie was the clear winner. As THR notes, “Despicable Me 2” earned $4.7 million in early screenings compared to $2 million pulled in by “The Lone Ranger.”
The battle between the two new movies is also a battle between two very different budgets. As Variety reports, “Despicable Me 2” had a very manageable $75 million budget whereas “The Lone Ranger” was plagued with problems and its budget ballooned past $225 million. The $100 million-plus box office will certainly be good news for Universal Pictures as the film won’t have any animated competition until the release of “Turbo” on July 19.
“The Lone Ranger” will need to match those $65 to $70 million estimates in order to have any chance of being a success and not a big-budget flop. The film stars Johnny Depp, which could help it internationally, but Westerns tend to be a difficult sell overseas, notes Variety.
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The reviews for “The Lone Ranger” have been overwhelmingly negative and its long running time, two and half hours, may lead to a big drop at next week’s box office. “Despicable Me 2” has received decent reviews, similar to the critical reception of “Monsters University,” on Rotten Tomatoes. The two new movies will also receive competition from “Monsters University” and “The Heat,” while the underperforming “White House Down” hopes to gain a boost from the Fourth of July holiday.