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WDKX.com » Blog » No. 1 'Despicable Me 2' rules box office as 'Lone Ranger' flops
Jul 8th 2013 5:51 am
No. 1 'Despicable Me 2' rules box office as 'Lone Ranger' flops

With "Despicable Me 2" dominating the Fourth of July box office, it was no holiday for "The Lone Ranger."

The animated 3-D film had a lot to celebrate over the long Independence Day weekend as it took in an explosive $142.1 million between its debut on 7 p.m. Tuesday and Sunday evening, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures. During that same period, the western starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer mustered up an embarrassing $48.9 million.

Such a weak opening puts "The Lone Ranger" on a pace to become one of the biggest big-budget bombs at the summer box office. Though the season's "White House Down" and "After Earth" have also proven to be disappointments, each film cost around $100 million less to produce than this weekend's flop. Walt Disney Studios had to halt production on "The Lone Ranger" in 2011 when the movie's budget soared to $250 million; the studio says it eventually reduced the cost to $225 million.

"Despicable Me 2," meanwhile, was made on the cheaper side for an animated family film. While most films in the genre have budgets of at least $100 million, Universal and its Illumination Entertainment produced the "Despicable" sequel for $76 million. While the second film received slightly less positive reviews than the 2010 original, audiences gave both films the same average grade -- an A, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

Three years ago, "Despicable Me" launched with a surprisingly strong $56.4 million and went on to collect $251.5 million in the U.S. and Canada -- about 46% of its eventual $543-million global tally. There's little doubt that the sequel will exceed those numbers after doubling the original's domestic opening weekend take.