Box Office: Despicable Twilight Predators do Battle

Never underestimate the power of cute kids and yellow, bean-shaped minions. It’s good to be despicable this week, with Steve Carell’s “Despicable Me” taking the top spot at the box office without much of a struggle against fellow new studio release “Predators”. The kid-friendly CG movie (in eye-popping 3D! according to the ads) easily beat out Robert Rodriguez’s R-rated shoot-a-thon sci-fi actioner “Predators” for #1, and knocking last week’s reigning champ, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” down one spot to second place.

In its first week of release, “Despicable Me” raked in $60 million, according to studio estimates. It more than doubled “Predators’s” $25 million first week gross, and “Eclipse’s” $33 million second week take. What’s more impressive is that “Despicable Me” was made for a very cheap $69 million. That’s pretty cheap by Hollywood standards. In comparison, “Toy Story 3″ cost $200 million, and “Shrek Forever After” cost $165 million, thanks to their sequel status and huge named cast. A “Despicable Me 2″ would, no doubt, feature an equally ballooning budget.

The Robert Rodriguez-produced “Predators” cost a modest $40 million to produce, and with $25 million already in the bank, it’s a given the film will turn a profit by the time it finishes its theatrical run. Also, genre films like “Predators” usually do well on DVD and overseas markets. Movies filled with explosions and gunfire are a universal language in and of themselves, after all.

Notables:

Despite initially stumbling out of the gate, M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” has started to inch its way toward respectability. Now in its second week, the film has accrued $100 million at the box office so far, with the majority of its foreign box office still on the horizon. While the movie probably won’t be considered a runaway hit by any stretch of the imagination, there’s a very real chance it could eventually get to a point where it doesn’t become a total disappointment for Paramount and, quite possibly, justify a sequel.

'Stupid despicable kid-friendly movie. We should cut its head off.'