Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Despicable Me 2 Soars While The Lone Ranger Crashes in Historic Box Office Weekend

To see older or more recent box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

With the end of another weekend comes another batch of reports about how films-both new and old-fared at the box office.  This week, the Despicable Me minions pratfalled their way to the top of the charts, the world decided enough was enough already and officially told Johnny Depp where he could shove that bird he insisted upon wearing on his head (because he’s so quirky), and pretty much all other movies continued to perform well.  In fact, the combined grosses from all films at the box office equaled out to the 10th highest grossing domestic weekend in film history.

What are our main takeaways as an audience? Let’s start with the raw numbers:

Top 10 Estimates for the 7/5-7/7 Weekend Domestic Box Office

1. Despicable Me 2 

  • Weekend Gross=$82.5 million
  • Total Gross=$142 million
  • Budget=$76 million

2. The Lone Ranger

  • Weekend Gross=$29.4 million
  • Total Gross=$48.9 million
  • Budget=$215-250 million

3. The Heat

  • Weekend Gross=$25 million
  • Total Gross=$86.3 million
  • Budget=$43 million

4. Monsters University

  • Weekend Gross=$19.5 million
  • Total Gross=$216.1 million
  • Budget=Disney & Pixar aren’t telling

5. World War Z

  • Weekend Gross=$18.2 million
  • Total Gross=$158.7 million
  • Budget=$190 million

6. White House Down

  • Weekend Gross=$13.5 million
  • Total Gross=$50.4 million
  • Budget=$150 million

7. Man of Steel

  • Weekend Gross=$11.4 million
  • Total Gross=$271.2 million
  • Budget=$225 million

8. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

  • Weekend Gross=$10.1 million
  • Total Gross=$17.4 million
  • Budget=They’re not telling

9. This is the End

  • Weekend Gross=$5.8 million
  • Total Gross=$85.5 million
  • Budget=$32 million

10. Now You See Me

  • Weekend Gross=$2.7 million
  • Total Gross=$110.4 million
  • Budget=$75 million


Despicable Me 2 Opens Huge – If You’re Kind of Sick of the Minions, Well, Get Over It.  They’re Not Going Anywhere.


Despicable Me 2 was already off to a monster start last week in early release in 7 foreign territories, dominating the UK box office.  However, for those who follow daily box office updates/projections it seems this one was so popular domestically the experts simply couldn’t keep up, continually having to up their estimated 5-day gross for the film. At this point, its worldwide gross is $294.1 million.   It also set several records:

  1. The 5-day total of $142 million is technically the highest domestic total ever for an animated film to feature a 5-day opening.  After adjusting for inflation, though, Toy Story 3 actually made more.
  2. It’s the 3rd highest Independence Day weekend in film history, just behind Spider-Man 2 ($88.1 million) and Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon ($97.8 million).  However, after inflation it drops to #5 on that list, leapfrogged by Independence Day and Men in Black.
  3. It’s the 4th highest opening weekend for an animated film, behind Shrek the Third, Toy Story 3, and Shrek 2.  After you adjust for inflation, the top 3 remain the same but Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and The Simpsons Movie all made more money.
  4. Screw overexposure – the minions are hot right now.  Their spin-off movie, a prequel due for a December 2014 release, looks guaranteed to hit huge now.
The Lone Ranger is the New John Carter Only Worse

The Lone Ranger

Who couldn’t see this coming?  This is a film which was almost canceled early on because the Walt Disney Studios chairman looked at the poor performance of Cowboys Vs. Aliens and expressed rather sound fiduciary concern.  Gore Verbinksi and Jerry Bruckheimer got the project back on track by promising to reduce the budget from $250 to $215 million, with Bruckheimer pledging to cover the cost if they went over.  The chairman, however, failed to express similar concern over John Carter‘s ballooning budget, and when it failed he resigned.

However, even beyond production concerns by the time trailers arrived the film just didn’t look very good.  There were only so many times you could tell yourself “but Verbinksi’s last movie was Rango, and that was brilliant” before you admitted that The Lone Ranger looked horrible.  

So, how bad is it, really? The Lone Ranger may have ultimately cost between $215-$250 million to make and $175 million to market for a total of $390-425 million.  In its first 5 days, it made $48.7 million domestically and $24.3 million foreign for a worldwide gross of $73 million, which is actually worse than the $100 million John Carter made in its worldwide opening last year.  The Hollywood Reporter argues Lone Ranger will top out at $275 million worldwide and present a $150 million loss for Disney.

This is two years in a row Disney has gone all in on projects derived from antiquated source material, and sunk so much into budget and marketing that the only way the films could make a profit is if they became among the highest grossing films of all time.  Last year, John Carter supposedly failed because of poor marketing and lack of star power (sorry Taylor Lautner).  This year, The Lone Ranger had three of the main principles from the first Pirates of the Caribbean (Director Verbinski, Producer Buckenheimer, Star Depp), and it’s an even bigger bomb.

If one of these Marvel or Pixar films ever bombs Disney is going to be seriously screwed because for a second summer in a row it is the performance of both a Marvel (The Avengers last year, Iron Man 3 this year) and Pixar film (Brave last year, Monsters University this year) that is helping the studio weather the storm of a colossal, colossal bomb.  Funny thing is that the Disney chairman who resigned after John Carter actually inherited that project, and his replacement inherited The Lone Ranger.  They just keep paying the misery forward, huh.  Also, with this and the dismal domestic performance of Dark Shadows last year and worldwide performance of The Rum Diary the year prior has the world finally tired of Johnny Deep being quirky and, well, Johnny Deep?

The Heat and World War Z Stay Hot, Monsters University Takes a Nosedive, Man of Steel Fading a Little


The Heat and World War Z only dropped 36.7% and 38% in their second and third weeks, respectively.  For The Heat, that is actually a bigger drop than Melissa McCarthy’s past two films (Identity Thief, Bridesmaids) experienced in their second weeks, but neither of those films faced such big budget competition.  It, somewhat oddly, is still primarily only playing domestically, but it’s worldwide gross is at $92 million and growing.  If McCarthy keeps playing the same role in future films we may get sick of her, as is the folly of many film comedians, but for now we love her.

World War Z is holding steady domestically, showing far more resilience, percentage wise, than Man of Steel, which dropped 45% in its fourth weekend.  However, both films continue to perform well overseas, with WWZ adding $45 million and Man of Steel another $21 million in foreign gross.  A Man of Steel sequel is already happening, but as it starts to wind down it is at $586 million in worldwide gross.  WWZ wants a sequel, two of them in fact, and at a worldwide gross of $366 million it will have easily doubled its production budget of $190 million by this time next week.  Once that happens a sequel seems incredibly likely.

Facing its first real demographic competition in the form of Despicable Me 2, Monsters University plummeted nearly 60% in its third weekend of release.  However, it has now crossed the $400 million mark in worldwide gross.  The scary part?  Disney will not say how much Monsters University cost to make, but one report pegs it at $270 million (the source is, but I seriously struggle to buy that it cost that much to make unless that total is production + marketing).  So, while Monsters U has done well Despicable Me 2 seems likely to end up the bigger hit simply because it carries a far more reasonable $76 million production budget and thus lower bar for profitability.

White House Down is No Olympus Has Fallen


White House Down is currently that movie your kind-of friend continues to insist is actually not that bad.  With such insistent word-of-mouth, it managed a 46% drop in its second weekend, which is very strong for a big budget Summer blockbuster.  However, it started out so low last weekend that a 46% drop means it only made a little over $10 million in its second weekend.  Domestic and foreign combined, it’s only made $67.8 million.  It appears dead in the water with little chance of even matching movie doppelganger Olympus Has Fallen in domestic gross.  Is there any hope?  Well, it’s only playing in 11 foreign markets at the moment, none of them major.  It could rebound once it expands into more territories.  However, the bar is high.  Why?  If estimates are to be believed, White House Down cost $150 million to produce and an additional $150 million to market for a combined total of $300 million.  Yeaaaaaah, they ain’t getting that money back.

This is the End and Now You See Me Near The End of Their Surprising Runs in the Top 10


At this point, This is the End has made $90 million worldwide in 4 weeks while The Lone Ranger ended up in that same ballpark in just 5 days, yet This is the End is the colossal hit and The Lone Ranger the colossal bomb.  Maybe notoriously risk-averse Hollywood types will look at that and realize that something is broken here and we’ll get some more lower budget This is the End type films in the future.

It could happen.  Either way, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are suddenly going to be in-demand writers/directors after making their directorial debut with This is the End.  Plus, remember that the movie has yet to open wide in many major foreign markets meaning its box office story has only been half-written at this point.

Now You See Me actually cost quite a bit more than This is the End ($75 million vs. $32 million), but it has also made more with a worldwide total of $169 million.  It is the type of mid-budget movie that supposedly aren’t made anymore let alone scoring big at the box office.  Good for it.

Oy, enough with the numbers.  I’m done.  Saw and liked The Lone Ranger?  Upset I failed to discuss Kevin Hart’s concert documentary Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain in any detail?  Not entirely on-board with the Despicable Me 2 love?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. John Carter is the best horrible movie of the last 10 years. So horrible yet entertaining. It will never get its much deserved sequel.

    1. For a movie that lost so much money the chairman of the studio had to resign, John Carter has its definite defenders. There are still many who maintain it could have been a huge hit, but there was a lot of turnover behind the scenes at Disney at the time which resulted in a horrible marketing campaign from people who didn’t understand the movie because they hadn’t been there from the very beginning. However, to be honest I barely even remember any of the marketing for the film. I just remember that it came out, and nobody up to that point seemed to have any idea what it was about unless they knew the original stories from the 1910s.

      I think that, over time, John Carter will not necessarily be thought of as a better movie than it was given credit for at its time, as it is certainly horrible. However, I think it will come to be thought of as incredibly entertaining. Alas, though, you are right – there is no way in hell it will ever get a sequel.

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