LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – The tiny, yellow, animated blobs have done it again.
Illumination and Universal’s “Despicable Me 3” is cruising to an easy box office win during a busy holiday weekend.
The latest in the franchise is opening to $75.4 million from 4,529 locations – the widest domestic release ever. That total is lower than earlier estimates, which pegged the film above $80 million (earlier tracking suggested it could land even higher), but nevertheless it remains the weekend’s big winner.
Steve Carell plays double duty in “Despicable Me 3” as the series’ protagonist Gru, and now also his twin brother, Dru. The plot centers on the brothers, as they team up for a criminal heist. “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker joins the franchise to voice the villain. Critics are generally on the movie’s side, earning it a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences, which is lower than the A earned by the first two installments and “Minions.”
“With these characters that have reached a level of ubiquity in our culture, these movies continue to create this want to see,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief, who added, “I think we have the best marketing group in the business.”