By Ryan Nakashima
LOS ANGELES -- Universal's (CMCSA) minions ran away with the box office for the second successive week.
With $44.8 million in domestic ticket sales Friday through Sunday, the animated sequel Despicable Me 2 outdid the debuts of the Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups 2 and director Guillermo del Toro's monsters-versus-robots action flick Pacific Rim.
The weekend's No. 1 movie featuring Steve Carell as ex-supervillain Gru made an additional $55.5 million overseas. That brought its global two-week total to $472.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday."This has become the July film to beat right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracking division of Hollywood.com. "There's something about the minions that audiences just love." Sony (SNE) was pleased with Sandler's second-best movie opening of his career with $42.5 million in sales in the U.S. and Canada. (His best domestic opening was The Longest Yard from 2005 with $58.6 million over four days). Overseas, the comedy brought in $1.7 million. The movie brings together former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal as a bumbling police officer with a host of comedy stars, including Chris Rock and David Spade playing awkward parents. The third-place finish of Pacific Rim, with $38.3 million in receipts, represented a disappointing start domestically for Warner Bros. (TWX) and partner Legendary Entertainment. Figures released by the studio showed it doing better overseas. The movie took in $53 million from 38 markets outside the U.S. and Canada, representing about half its overseas footprint. It has yet to open in China or Japan, the home of the movie's co-star, Rinko Kikuchi. Warner Bros. said the debut of Pacific Rim in several countries, like Russia and South Korea, was better than that of other films that have gone on to gross more than $300 million internationally, like Transformers 2 and Prometheus. The movie had an estimated production budget of $185 million, not including the millions spent on marketing, so there is still the opportunity for it to make its money back. Fizziology, a company that tracks buzz on such social networks as Twitter and Facebook, said that 82% of posts on Pacific Rim were positive ahead of the opening, with only 6% negative as some people drew negative comparisons to the Power Rangers or Godzilla. The film draws heavily on Japan's Kaiju movie monster tradition.