Strong de­but is ex­pected for ‘De­spi­ca­ble Me 3’

The pop­u­lar Min­ions are pre­dicted to boost the film’s box-of­fice suc­cess even as other fran­chises fal­ter.

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Ryan Faugh­n­der ryan.faugh­n­der @la­

Film fran­chises are hav­ing a chilly sum­mer at the box of­fice. “Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight” stalled out, “The Mummy” got buried and “Alien: Covenant” drifted off into space.

Now it’s up to the yel­low Min­ions of “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3” to help cure the malaise.

The car­toon com­edy is ex­pected to gross $90 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion in the United States and Canada this week­end, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple who have read au­di­ence sur­veys, which would make it one of the top sum­mer open­ings this year.

A strong launch could boost sum­mer ticket sales that are down 7% this year com­pared with the same pe­riod last year. Other than su­per­hero movies “Won­der Woman” from Warner Bros. and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” from Dis­ney, the sea­son’s big­gest movies have mostly failed to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions. The fifth “Trans­form­ers” film, for ex­am­ple, grossed a weak $69 mil­lion from the United States and Canada.

Else­where at the mul­ti­plex, two R-rated orig­i­nal films will seek grown-up movie­go­ers: Edgar Wright’s ac­tion flick “Baby Driver” and New Line’s par­ents­gone-bad com­edy “The House.”

An­tic­i­pa­tion for the next “De­spi­ca­ble Me” is high, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts. A strong de­but for “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3,” the lat­est in the com­put­eran­i­mated se­ries from Univer­sal Pic­tures and Il­lu­mi­na­tion En­ter­tain­ment, would be the lat­est suc­cess for Il­lu­mi­na­tion, which had a huge hit last sum­mer with “The Se­cret Life of Pets.” How­ever, it’s not ex­pected to reach the $116 mil­lion that the 2015 spinoff “Min­ions” grossed in its first week­end.

Il­lu­mi­na­tion has proved to be a for­mi­da­ble com­peti­tor in the crowded an­i­ma­tion busi­ness by mak­ing suc­cess­ful movies that cost about $75 mil­lion to pro­duce — con­sid­er­ably less than Pixar and Dream­Works An­i­ma­tion films. The gib­ber­ish­s­peak­ing, pill-shaped Min­ions have proved to be in­escapable mar­ket­ing de­vices, tak­ing over New York cabs and the stars on Ama­zon’s cus­tomer re­view sys­tem. The tiny hench­men pro­pelled “Min­ions” to more than $1 bil­lion in global re­ceipts.

“De­spi­ca­ble Me 3” again stars Steve Carell as the voice of crim­i­nal mas­ter­mind Gru, as well as his lon­glost twin brother Dru. The film also fea­tures the voices of Kris­ten Wiig and Trey Parker.

As the car­toon se­quel dom­i­nates, “Baby Driver” will test movie­go­ers’ ap­petite for a well-re­viewed, high-con­cept ac­tion com­edy. The lat­est from Bri­tish di­rec­tor Edgar Wright, about a young get­away driver (Ansel El­gort) who needs to con­stantly lis­ten to mu­sic to over­come chronic tin­ni­tus and do his job, is ex­pected to gross $15 mil­lion to $22 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally in its first five days after open­ing Wed­nes­day.

That would be a solid de­but for the movie that cost $34 mil­lion to make after fac­tor­ing in re­bates from film­ing in Atlanta. The movie, from Me­dia Rights Cap­i­tal and Sony Pic­tures’ TriS­tar unit, marks a rel­a­tively large com­mer­cial de­but for Wright, best known for quirky spoofs such as “Shaun of the Dead” and “The World’s End.”

Mean­while, New Line Cin­ema and Vil­lage Road­show Pic­tures are aim­ing for a $12-mil­lion open­ing for “The House,” star­ring Amy Poehler and Will Fer­rell as par­ents who start an il­le­gal casino to send their daugh­ter to col­lege.

R-rated come­dies have strug­gled for at­ten­tion this sum­mer amid the big­bud­get ac­tion at the mul­ti­plex. Au­di­ences re­cently gave the cold shoul­der to Scar­lett Jo­hans­son in “Rough Night” and Amy Schumer in “Snatched.”

Nina Prom­mer Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

THE WORLD PRE­MIERE of “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3” at the Shrine Au­di­to­rium in Los An­ge­les on Satur­day. The car­toon com­edy is ex­pected to gross $90 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion in the United States and Canada this week­end.

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