Despicable Me 3 proves Universal's family friendly franchise is showing no signs of slowing down, as the threequel is zeroing in on an estimated $196 million global opening.
The third film in the Steve Carell-starring franchise about a reformed supervillain and his equally adorable and irritating Minions revolves around Gru encountering his highly successful, long lost brother Dru, who is tempting the former villain to revert to his old ways. The series has been a bright spot for Universal for several years, and looks to be somewhat blunting the sting of the studio's recent high profile flop, The Mummy.
According to Deadline, Despicable Me 3 will bow at the domestic box office with an estimated $83.5 million, which is nearly identical to what Despicable Me 2 pulled in when it debuted in 2013. Internationally, the movie is off to a fantastic start, dominating the box office in the UK ($3.2 million), Spain ($1.5 million), Mexico ($4.8 million), Russia ($3.9 million), and Brazil ($2.6 million). In many territories, like Egypt and Peru, it's breaking the records for biggest opening for an animated film of all time. The film hasn't even debuted in China yet, likely it's biggest source of international box office income.
Universal must be breathing a sigh of relief. The well regarded franchise started displaying its first signs of age with the weakest reviews for any of the Despicable Me films, currently holding at 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (which is still a bit higher than the 2015 Minions spinoff, which sits at 56 percent). Despite the lukewarm reviews, public interest in the franchise clearly hasn't waned a bit.
This is actually the second animated film of the year for Universal that was met with middling critical reaction but explosive box office success. The Boss Baby, starring Alec Baldwin as the titular talking infant, became a surprise March smash, grossing just under $500 million worldwide. A sequel for The Boss Baby is in the works, and it's safe to assume Despicable Me will continue on as well (a Minions sequel is already planned for 2020).
Universal may be stumbling in their efforts to create a shared universe with their monster properties, but their family oriented animation efforts have been successful for a long time. Between Illumination Entertainment's success with Despicable Me and Minions, as well as fellow Universal subsidiary DreamWorks' long-standing run of box office dominance with franchises like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and How To Train Your Dragon, Universal continues to give Pixar a run for their (literal) money.
Next: Despicable Me 3 Review
Despicable Me 3 is in theaters now.