‘Despicable Me’ Fills Universal’s Coffers With a Big Haul at Friday Box-Office

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I’d say it’s about time Universal had a hit on their hands and a massive marketing push for Despicable Me brought audiences out of their homes and into the theaters. The animated feature scored $21.7 million at Friday’s box-office, which means this one could end upwards of $65 million once the three-day weekend is said and done. My guess is it ends up somewhere around $58.5 million, which would be the studio’s highest opening weekend of the year besting Robin Hood‘s $36 million.

It would actually make it the second highest opening the studio has had in the past two-and-a-half years, behind last year’s Fast and Furious at $70.9 million and ahead of 2008’s Incredible Hulk at $55 million. It would also instantly make it the studio’s fourth highest grossing movie of 2010 just behind Get Him to the Greek. They’ve got to be happy especially considering Nikki Finke is reporting the film was made for only $69 million? That has to be before P&A I would assume.

The week’s other new release was Fox’s Predators, which managed a “fresh” rating from critics at RottenTomatoes with 64% (though the “Top Critics” rate it “rotten” with 46%) and ended up just behind Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on Friday and I would suspect will be battling hard with the Twi-hards for the three-day #2.

Predators made $10.5 million on Friday, which is a solid number that I would suspect will translate to about $28 million for the weekend. Considering it was made for a reported $38 million this is a very nice return and considering the movie isn’t bad (just as much as it isn’t very good) I expect it will have some decent legs over the course of the next three weeks.

Eclipse ended up with $11 million, which should result in about $30 million for the weekend. On Thursday the third installment in the Twilight franchise broke the $200 million mark, making it only the sixth film to do so this year. After this weekend it will be neck-and-neck with Shrek Forever After for the fourth spot on the yearly list. I wonder, though, will it be able to break New Moon‘s $296 million? Right now Eclipse is just behind New Moon‘s pace, but one thing to note is New Moon cost a reported $50 million to make while Eclipse was allegedly $68 million.

Toy Story 3 made an estimated $6.5 million on Friday and should end the weekend with about $18 million and The Last Airbender will be making a push to $100 million, but may come up a bit short in its second weekend. The M Night Shyamalan movie was at $83 million going into the weekend and added an additional $5.2 million on Friday, but can it manage another $11.8 million over Saturday and Sunday? It most likely will, but there is a lot of competition in the family film department right now.

The bottom half of the top ten is listed directly below and Laremy will be here tomorrow with the complete wrap up.

  1. Despicable Me – $21.7 million
  2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $11 million
  3. Predators – $10.5 million
  4. Toy Story 3 – $6.5 million
  5. The Last Airbender – $5.2 million
  6. Grown Ups – $5.1 million
  7. Knight and Day – $2.4 million
  8. The Karate Kid – $1.7 million
  9. The A-Team – $550,000
  10. Cyrus – $365,000