'Despicable Me 4' notches another win for family films at the box office

“Despicable Me 4” had a strong showing at the top of the box office this weekend as family films continue to drive returns for studios and movie theaters.

The fourth installment of the Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment animated franchise raked in $75 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to three-day estimates from measurement firm Comscore. The movie opened Wednesday to $27 million and has now grossed an estimated $122 million.

Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” finally fell to second place this weekend with $30 million, though it has so far garnered $533 million in U.S. and Canadian box office revenue since it opened last month. The movie has brought in more than $1 billion globally.

Paramount Picture’s “A Quiet Place: Day One” prequel came in third with a second-weekend gross of $21 million, followed by A24’s horror film “MaXXXine” with $6.7 million. Sony Pictures’ “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” rounded out the top five with $6.5 million.

Compared to Memorial Day weekend’s dismal turnout, which prompted much hand-wringing among industry watchers, the extended Fourth of July weekend’s strong results and varied movie options have been a “stark and impressive difference,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

“To see this total change in the box office shows how unpredictable the box office can be,” he said. “All it takes is a few over-performances, with some great movies back to back, to totally change the entire perception of the health of the movie theater and of movies in general.”

Part of the momentum is the power of the family film. Some movie theater owners credit the blockbuster performance of “Inside Out 2” with getting audiences — especially families — back in the habit of going to multiplexes. With “Despicable Me 4,” as well as a family-friendly slate later this year, including “Moana 2,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” and “Wicked,” theater owners have said they feel optimistic about their end-of-year prospects.

“You’ve got to have the movies out there to pull that audience in,” Dergarabedian said.

But it wasn’t a success story for every film this weekend. “Poor Things” director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest movie, “Kinds of Kindness,” nearly doubled its screen count to 920 from 490 in its third weekend, yet dropped 45%, to gross just $860,000 for an overall total of $3.8 million.

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