Despicable Me 3, directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, breezed past The Boss Baby last weekend to become 2017’s highest-grossing animated release to date, both domestically and globally.

In the United States, DM3 has scored $188.4M over three weekends (to Boss Baby’s grand total of $174.2M). Globally, including the U.S. gross, DM3 has made out with $622.4M, compared to Boss Baby’s $497.5M.

While DM3 will be a money-maker for Universal, there is a sign of concern for the Illumination franchise. After 17 days at the domestic box office, DM3 not only trails the grosses of DM2 and Minions, it also trails Illumination’s last two original films, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. At this rate, DM3 should end up earning well over 70% of its box office from overseas, a higher percentage than any previous Illumination film.

Here’s the reason that’s significant: generally when American audiences burn out on an animated franchise, the rest of the world follows suit. The pattern of a dwindling American percentage of overall box office leading to eventual disappointment is visible in Fox/Blue Sky’s Ice Age franchise, as well as Dreamworks Animation’s Madagascar and Shrek series. The last entry (either sequel or spin-off) in each of those series has been a box office weakling relative to the performance of the earlier films.

The decaying U.S. portion of box office should cause Universal some concern for the prospects of the next entry in the franchise, Minions 2, currently scheduled to debut in 2020. For now though, that won’t put a damper on DM3′s solid performance. Even if DM3 doesn’t have the box office draw of Minions, the film is still a blockbuster success. In fact, in what is turning out to be an off-year for feature animation, there’s a very strong possibility that DM3 will wind up as the highest-grossing animated feature of 2017.

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