China Box Office: 'Despicable Me 3' Smashes Animation Records With $66M Opening

Courtesy of Universal Studios
'Despicable Me 3'

The debut was more than the entire China total of 'Despicable Me 2' in 2014.

Gru and his mischievous minions caused quite the ruckus at the Chinese box office over the weekend.

The Universal and Illumination Entertainment threequel opened to a historic $66 million according to Chinese box-office tracking company Entgroup. It was the biggest launch ever for an animated film in the country, and the huge debut dwarfs Despicable Me 2's entire $53 million China run in 2014.

The third installment kicked things off with a solid $21.1 million Friday, narrowly edging out Minions' first day in 2015 to claim the title for the biggest opening day for an animated movie in China. 

The film has been a massive hit in overseas markets; the strong China bow boosted DM3's foreign haul to $139 million for the weekend. The movie's foreign total now sits at $298.4 million, compared with $149.2 million in North America and $447.8 million globally.

DM3 follows Gru (Steve Carell) as he meets up with his long-lost twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell). Together, they take on a diamond thief (Trey Parker). The film has scored solidly on Chinese reviews sites, with 7.1/10 on Douban and 8.6/10 on Weying.

Local horror sequel The House That Never Dies 2, from Wanda and iQiyi Pictures, opened Thursday and came in second for the weekend, earning a healthy $20.5 million in its first four days.

Chinese action-comedy The One, produced by Bona and Tencent Pictures, landed in third place with $10.5 million from Friday to Sunday.

Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight, meanwhile, slipped to fourth place in its third weekend, adding $7.4 million for a $220 million total after 17 days. Now on its last legs in China, the movie has come in way below early local estimates and far behind Transformers 4's $330 million China haul from 2014.  

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