For weeks, box office observers have been predicting that Despicable Me 2 is going to be a behemoth. If the animated tentpole’s early international performance is any indication, they’re right.
Over the weekend, the Universal and Illumination Entertainment sequel — returning the character Gru and his army of minions to the big screen — grossed $41.5 million from only seven international markets for an early foreign total of $50 million (it opened in Australia last weekend).
Universal insiders pointed out that Despicable Me 2 came in No. 4 internationally for the weekend, even though Man of Steel, World War Z and fellow animated tentpole Monsters University are playing in many more markets. Disney and Pixar’s Monsters U, for example, is playing in 37 territories and earned $44.2 million for the weekend.
Steve Carell returns to voice the character Gru in the follow-up, while newcomer Kristen Wiig voices the role of agent Lucy Wilde. This time out, Gru, now a doting father, must join forces with Wiig’s character to save the minions.
Despicable 2 — bowing in North America on Tuesday, the eve of the lucrative July 4th holiday frame — is pacing ahead of Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Croods, Shrek Forever After and the last two Madagascar pics in the same seven territories.
And in Australia, Despicable 2 is beating Monsters U (a hit in its own right, having crossed $300 million worldwide in its second weekend). Australia is the only market so far where both toons are playing.
Despicable 2 opened to No. 1 in the U.K., France, French Switzerland, Netherlands and Belgium and was second only to Man of Steel in Sweden and Australia.
In the U.K., it debuted to $15.2 million, Universal’s top opening of all time and the No. 1 opening of 2013 so far. Including previews, Despicable has earned a total of $23.3 million in the U.K. and Ireland (considered one market). France follows with $8 million.