Those little yellow minions can’t be stopped! Despicable Me 2 easily won the box office race on Wednesday with $34.3 million ($4.7 million of which came from Tuesday night showings beginning at 7 p.m.), putting it on pace for a remarkable $140 million five-day debut. The $76 million film, produced by Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal, will easily notch one of the best opening weekends of 2013. And with an enthusiastic “A-” CinemaScore, the film is on track to quickly surpass The Croods and Monsters University to become the biggest animated hit of 2013.
Disney’s ultra-expensive western The Lone Ranger stumbled out of the gate on Wednesday, wrangling a terrible $9.7 million, which puts it on pace for a five-day debut in the $45-50 million range. The film, which stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, cost at least $225 million to produce and could cause a major financial blow to the studio since westerns rarely play well outside of the United States.
The weekend’s other new opener, comedy film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, pulverized already heightened expectations with an impressive $4.8 million from only 876 theaters. The film, a follow-up to Hart’s $7.7 million-earner Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain, could earn about $18 million in its five-day start — a fantastic result for a film that cost just $2.5 million to produce.
Due to the July 4th holiday, there has been some delay in reporting studio grosses this morning, but check back to EW throughout the holiday weekend for more box office updates — including holdovers from last week — and have a happy Independence Day!