Hollywood Beat: Minions Top Johnny Depp; WAY, WAY BACK Rises Way, Way High; FRUITVALE STATION Opening

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)

Did you enjoy your holiday weekend? Did you even get a day off? Canadians got to celebrate Canada Day last Monday, while Americans were granted Thursday to celebrate Independence Day -- or, as it's known in my neighborhood, "set off the cheap firecrackers and make all the kids scream and dogs bark" day and night.

At the multiplex, Disney sent out a reimagined Tonto along with a white-hatted hero to do battle with instant childhood favorites called "minions." Remember when Disney was known for family entertainment? Er, not so much this weekend ...

U.S. Box Office

Once again, a new installment in a burgeoning animated franchise soundly defeated a live-action superstar at the box office in the U.S.

First, Pixar's Monsters University thrashed Brad Pitt in World War Z, and now DreamWorks' Despicable Me has easily bested Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger, with the voice of Steve Carell and the ubiquituous minions raking in an estimated $82.5 million over the Friday-Sunday weekend, and $142.1 million for the extremely long holiday weekend that began last Tuesday evening, according to Box Office Guru. Internationally, it made $88.8 million in 45 territories, so it's already made nearly $300 million all told so far.

Stumbling badly out of the gate, The Lone Ranger made just $29.4 million over the weekend and $48.9 million since last Tuesday evening. Internationally, it's grossed $73.2 million so far in about 30% of the marketplace. With a production budget reported at $215 million, and a marketing budget that must run in the tens of millions, it will need huge returns worldwide to make a dent in its debt.

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