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Box Office Report

‘Despicable Me 3’ Sets Opening Day Record in China

Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 stormed its way into Chinese theaters today, launching with a record-shattering opening day gross of 139 million RMB, or around US$20 million. The film is now headed for a US$60-70 million opening weekend in China.

The previous record holder for an animation launch in China was also Illumination, which set the record in 2015 with Minions, taking 125 million RMB ($18.4 million) on its first day. Though Despicable Me 3 now owns the title for biggest opening day, the single-day record for an animated film in China belongs to Disney’s Zootopia, which scored $25 million on its second Saturday of release. The Disney pic went on to become China’s highest-grossing animation release of all-time, amassing $235 million over its run.

DM3, however, will easily become the Illumination franchise’s highest-grossing entry in China. Despicable Me 2 grossed $53M over its entire Chinese run, followed by a $67.9M haul for Minions. The original Despicable Me was never shown in China.

The strong start in China is a welcome relief for DM3, which opened significantly weaker in the United States than its predecessors. Over the five-day Independence Day holiday weekend in the U.S., DM3 grossed $99 million. That would be a great start for almost any other animated feature, but it pales in comparison to the five-day launches of $143.1M for DM2 and $145.5M for Minions.

Globally, including U.S. grosses, the Kyle Balda/Pierre Coffin-directed film has accrued $286.8M through yesterday.

  • Andres Molina

    Illumination Entertainment is further proof that you don’t have to craft a masterful plot, or spend over a hundred million dollar in order to make a killing at the box office. Who knows whether or not the studio will create a trend of low-budget films in the double digit of millions, but one thing is for sure, the animation industry is growing more competitive than before.

    • Inkan1969

      I don’t know about “more competitive”. It seems more like Dreamworks has fallen away from its old role as the “major competitor” to Disney and Pixar, and now Illumination has that post.

  • Thalesourus

    I read a Chris Sander’s quote to the effect that he was so impressed by the writing he had watched DM1 10 times. DM2 wasn’t bad either. “Minions”, OTOH took it down more than a notch or two but cashed in on the sky high brand. DM3, unfortunately, is just a mess. I don’t think there was one laugh out of the small audience I saw it with. It will be interesting if the Chinese audience support remains or plummets over time.

    • Barrett

      Just saw DM3, and I was rather underwhelmed, but not really any more than I was by the first sequel. The original “Despicable Me” is starting to look more and more like a “lightning in a bottle” situation. That movie was funny, had a lot of heart, and really thrilling action sequences. I liked the action in this one a bit more than in DM2, and I liked that the girls seems to play a larger part than in DM2, where they felt sidelined in favor of Gru and Lucy’s relationship. I still really like the main characters, and was actually relieved they scaled back the Minions a bit for most of the film, but the writing and character development for the new characters was lacking. I feel like Trey Parker’s participation was a bit of a waste – he was fine as a “voice actor” but I would have liked more ad-libbing and opportunities for him to add to the character, and unless I’m mistaken it seems like he was pretty much keeping to a script. The addition of Gru’s twin felt like they were setting things up for a Spy vs. Spy dynamic in the future, which could be fun or could just be derivative. (I did like the 2D animated credits sequence with them, though.)

      I’m wondering if the missing ingredient here is Sergio Pablos. He originated the concept and characters for the first film, though a lot was changed before making it to the big screen. But there was just something so great about the first movie I haven’t quite felt in the last two.

  • DM3 seems to be following a pattern of other movies that opened kind of
    low in the US but did massively well in China, like this year’s The Mummy.

  • Cameron Ward

    There is something very aggravating about this film franchise and the studio in general. They obviously have very talented people working there in terms of the animation, but their writing and story telling is consistently not up to par.

    They have chances and opportunities to go above and beyond their films, and yes, not every film needs to be Pixar or Disney amazing, but at the same time, if you are going to put heart and compassion in your film, then actually do so not because you have to, but because you want to.

    Like, what’s the strongest element to How to Train your Dragon 1+2? it’s heart and how the characters interact with one another.