Box Office: DESPICABLE ME 3 takes Independence Day weekend!

DESPICABLE ME 3 will lead the holiday weekend box office with an estimated $75.4 million, culled from Thursday night previews all the way through the final showings on Sunday. This is not even a little bit of a surprise.

Second place will go to Edgar Wright‘s BABY DRIVER, one of the more original big-studio pictures to be released so far this year, alongside LOGAN and WONDER WOMAN. BABY DRIVER is looking at an estimated $30 million over the weekend, starting from Tuesday night previews. Wright has been deserving of an in-theaters hit for a long time, especially considering the cults that have formed around literally every other movie he’s made, from SHAUN OF THE DEAD to SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. It doesn’t get him ANT-MAN back but this success should at least help him secure funding and distribution for the myriad of fascinating projects he has in the pipeline.

Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, which lands in the fourth spot with $17.3 million, has his visual totems in spades but his narrative is at once frenzied and insufferably rigid in its plotting. WONDER WOMAN, coming in with $16.1 million in its fifth frame to take the fourth spot, with its larger ideas about war, evil, and the limitations of a good hero are what stand out and Jenkins has a firm grip on making active, thrilling compositions for the big screen.

CARS 3, which came in at number five with $9.5 million, apparently lacks both directorial finesse and any potent thematic interests, which is par for the course for most non-Pixar animated films, including this week’s big hit. The broad strokes of DESPICABLE ME 3 may still make the big bucks, but another lesson to take away from this weekend is that hiring a director with a clear, distinct vision and allowing them to develop that with minimal interference often results in a remarkable movie, if not always the most lucrative one.

Here’s your top five films:

1. ‘Despicable Me 3’ $75.41M
2. ‘Baby Driver’ $21M
3. ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ $17.35M
4. ‘Wonder Woman’ $16.1M
5. ‘Cars 3’ $9.52M

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