Which would you expect to win the Fourth of July weekend: the Disney-produced, Johnny Depp-starring revival of an iconic American hero or the sequel to a French-made, Steve Carell-starring animated movie about a lovable supervillain? Well, it looks like American audiences simply aren't interested in westerns, even the uber-expensive ones starring Captain Jack Sparrow with a bird on his head. 'Despicable Me 2' destroyed 'The Lone Ranger' over the holiday weekend. Like, totally wrecked it. Mercilessly.

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1Despicable Me 2$82,518,000$20,645$142,076,000
2The Lone Ranger$29,432,000$7,539$48,936,000
3The Heat$25,000,000 (-36.1)$7,852$86,398,000
4Monsters University$19,590,000 (-57.0)$5,239$216,127,000
5World War Z$18,200,000 (-38.9)
6White House Down$13,500,000 (-45.7)$4,190$50,478,000
7Man of Steel$11,415,000 (-45.0)$3,929$271,206,000
8Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain$10,100,000$11,530$17,460,000
9This is the End$5,800,000 (-33.3)$2,757$85,554,000
10Now You See Me$2,770,000 (-50.6)$1,725$110,415,000


Although the first 'Despicable Me' grossed a very impressive $251 million back in 2010, home video transformed it into a serious phenomenon, the kind of movie that never leaves the Blu-ray player in homes with young kids. A big opening was expected, but an $82 million weekend and a $142 million week is seriously impressive stuff. The combination of the holiday and the general family-friendliness of the film (and the fact that more kids know Gru than the Lone Ranger) made it the biggest draw of the weekend. Unless something horrible happens, $300 million is a certainty. Heck, at the very least, it'll surpass the gross of the first film. What can we say? Kids love those minions.

Meanwhile, not even the team that produced the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films could lead 'The Lone Ranger' to success, with the reinvention of the radio and TV icon opening to a sad $29 million weekend and $48 million week. Surely director Gore Verbsinksi and producer Jerry Bruckheimer thought they could do for the western what they already did for the pirate movie, but whatever magic they had before seems to have worn off. The handful of successful westerns in the past decade have skewed older, so simply going bigger and flashier wasn't going to win anyone over here. Kids still won't see a western and the people who made 'True Grit' a hit were probably turned off by how loud and obnoxious the whole thing looked.

To hammer home how bad the opening weekend of 'The Lone Ranger' really is, just look at 'The Heat,' which came in barely behind it in its second week with $25 million. The R-rated cop comedy has $86 million already and it doesn't look like it'll be slowing down anytime soon. In a few weeks, it'll out-gross 'The Hangover Part III.' Who saw that coming?

Although 'The Lone Ranger' was the greatest victim of the success of 'Despicable Me 2,' Pixar's 'Monsters University' took a bit of a hit as its audience went elsewhere, leading to a weekend gross of $19 million. Still, with $216 million total, the animated prequel is already a hit and it's going to be just fine in the long run.

In fifth place, 'World War Z' continued to perform steadily if not spectacularly, earning $18 million for a $158 million total. This isn't quite where the very expensive production needs to be, but it's doing okay, especially when you take international grosses into account.

Right below it, 'White House Down' fell to sixth place with a $13 million weekend and a $50 million total. Those are not good numbers.

Meanwhile, 'Man of Steel' continued to perform well, with its $11 million weekend bringing it to $271 million. $300 million is certainly a possibility if the big July releases don't take the wind out of its sails. In any case, any lingering thoughts of 'Superman Returns' seem to have vanished.

And then we come to the big surprise of the week. Although concert films have a lengthy track record of not doing particularly well in theaters, 'Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain' did a shockingly solid $17 million over the holiday week. We have no idea how long it'll hang around, but that's excellent.

The top ten is rounded out with 'This is the End' and 'Now You See Me,' with the former so close to $100 million that it can taste it and the latter officially a member of the $100 million club.

Next week sees the release of 'Pacific Rim' and 'Grown Ups 2.' That has no right to be a bloodbath, but it looks like it very well could be.

More From Q92