July 4, 2013



Note:  Updated With Official Wednesday Studio Estimates

It’s going to be a sensational holiday for DESPICABLE ME 2 (Universal).  he sequel had the third-best opening day for any animated movie ever with $34.3M on Wednesday.  (It’s behind only Toy Story 3‘s $41.2M and Shrek the Third‘s $38.4M.)  With the 4-5x multiple of a 5-day weekend to look forward to, Despicable 2 could be on track for one of the best Independence Day weekends ever.  The collateral damage to the movie’s giant start was the hit to MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar), which plunged by 29% to $5.4M on Wednesday, and could be headed for a much more mortal total than the last 2 weekends suggested.

At the other end of the box office spectrum was the calamitous opening of THE LONE RANGER (Disney)–it was a very bad day for Disney all around–which had a tiny $9.7M start.  That could mean less than a $50M 5-day weekend, a flat-out disaster for a movie with $400M in production and marketing costs.  Even if Johnny Depp’s much-vaunted foreign appeal can survive the overseas market’s long-held resistance to westerns, it would be almost impossible for the movie to make enough internationally to swim past so much red ink.

Also opening on Wednesday was the Kevin Hart comedy concert movie LET ME EXPLAIN (Lionsgate) in only 876 theatres.  Its $4.8M total gave it a $5400 average per theatre for the day, which is more than double The Lone Ranger‘s per-theatre average.

THE HEAT (20th) won’t be anywhere near 1st place this weekend, but it held steady on Wednesday with $5.2M.  WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Sony) was down 10% to $2.6M, and MAN OF STEEL (Warners) slumped 16% to $2.3M.

Most releases (possibly excluding the animated films) are due to decline on July 4th itself, but should rebound in a big way on Friday.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."