Illumination and Universal's film Despicable Me 3 launched on Thursday night with sales of $4.1 million at 4,020 North American locations.
The 3D animated film, which features the voices of comedians Steve Carell (Gru, Dru), Kristen Wiig (Lucy), and Trey Parker (Balthazar Bratt), is predicted to take in up to $100 million over the Independence Day holiday weekend. (The studio has a slightly more conservative estimate at $85 million.)
The flick, a story about reunited siblings who battle a villain and former child star seeking revenge against the world, expands to 4,529 locations on Friday.
DM3 wasn't the only film to open on Thursday; the R-rated New Line comedy The House, starring comedians Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell, totaled $800,000 in previews. The film, about a married couple starting an underground casino to raise money for their daughter’s college tuition, is predicted to total up to $16 million (studio: $13 million) during the holiday weekend.
The latest Despicable Me opening will be evidence of whether Hollywood's continued reliance on sequels, "threequels," spinoffs, and relaunches of already-proven series works with moviegoers. The Despicable Me franchise has proven lucrative, totaling more than $955 million domestically and $2.7 worldwide for Despicable Me (2010), Despicable Me 2 (2013), and Minions (2015). Two of those three launched with nine-digit openings in Julys past.