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Sony’s Adam Sandler ensemble comedy Grown Ups 2 and holdover Despicable Me 2 are in a close race for the top spot at the domestic box office, while original tentpole Pacific Rim has begun to slow down.
Grown Ups 2 topped the Friday box office with a strong $16.3 million. Sony is now predicting a $45 million to $46 million opening, possibly enough to beat Universal’s Despicable 2. Other studios, including Universal, have the two sequels each grossing in the $44 million range for the weekend.
Pacific Rim, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros., came in No. 2 on Friday with $14.6 million. It’s now expected to open in the $37 million to $39 million range, a troubled beginning considering the tentpole’s $190 million-plus budget. Legendary, which took the lead on the project, footed most of the budget.
Despicable 2, placing No. 3 Friday with $13.4 million, will pull ahead of Pacific Rim on Saturday. The 3D animated tentpole continues to prove a huge win for Illumination Entertainment and Universal, finishing Friday with a worldwide cume of $404.6 million worldwide.
Fox’s Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat celebrated its own milestone as it jumped the $100 million mark domestically, grossing $13.4 million on Friday for a new total of $111.8 million and placing No. 4.
Coming in No. 5 Friday was Gore Verbinksi‘s troubled The Lone Ranger, which tumbled 68 percent from the previous Friday to $3.4 million for a North American total of $63.3 million. Providing solace, Disney jumped the $1 billion mark in domestic box office revenue on Friday, the first studio to do so this year.
Marking del Toro’s first big-budget tentpole, Pacific Rim pits giant robots against alien monsters and stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day.
Defying soft prerelease tracking, Pacific Rim got off to a better-than-expected start Thursday night and Friday, but once fanboy traffic started tapering off late in the evening, the movie took a dip. Mirroring strong reviews, Pacific Rim received an A- CinemaScore.
Despite being ravaged by critics, Grown Ups 2 received a B- CinemaScore, same as the 2010 original. The sequel, costing $80 million to produce, opens three years after the original film turned into a box-office hit, bowing to $40.5 million and ultimately grossing $271.4 million worldwide.
The ensemble comedy reteams Sandler with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello.
Overseas, Pacific Rim is off to a strong start in Asia, Russia, Argentina and Mexico — del Toro’s home country — though it fared dismally in Australia on Thursday, coming in No. 4 behind the the opening day of The Heat, Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University (the two animated films are benefiting from school holidays).
On Friday, Pacific Rim took in $11.5 million from 38 markets, pushing the movie’s two-day international cume to $19.3. Russia continued to lead, coughing up $2 million for a two-day total of $4.1 million. Korea followed with $1.6 million for a two-day cume of $3.1 million.
The film got off to a softish start in the U.K., however, grossing $1.1 million to come in No. 2 behind the opening day of Monsters University.
So far internationally, the tentpole is outpacing a slew of films that went on to gross between $300 million and $400 million overseas, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Clash of the Titans and Prometheus. It’s also pacing on par with World War Z, which has earned more than $200 million to date at the foreign box office.
Making headlines at the specialty box office in North America was The Weinstein Co.’s critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station, which grossed $127,445 from seven theaters on Friday for a location average of $18,206.
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