Box Office Report: 'Despicable Me 2' Already Nabs $50 Million From Seven Foreign Markets

"Despicable Me 2"

The film is breaking records for Universal on the eve of the sequel's North American debut.

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).

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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.