Universal's Despicable Me 2 took in $9.15 million on Thursday to dominate the daily box office for a ninth consecutive day. The computer animated sequel from Illumination Entertainment was down 5 percent from Wednesday and down 63 percent from last Thursday's Independence Day performance. Despicable Me 2 led the way this week with $124.93 million and has now grossed a massive $184.48 million through nine days of release. The performance of Despicable Me 2 is even more impressive when taking into account that the film is far less expensive than most other high profile computer animated films. Despicable Me 2 could find itself in a close three-way battle for first place this weekend with Warner's Pacific Rim and Sony's Grown Ups 2.
Turning towards this weekend, both Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2 were off to very good late night starts. Pacific Rim grossed an estimated $3.6 million, while Grown Ups 2 grossed an estimated $2.3 million. Shows for both films started at 7 p.m. and will be counted towards Friday's respective opening day performances. In comparison, late night grosses for Pacific Rim were on par with the $3.6 million late night start of World War Z (which opened at 8 p.m.) and in the same neighborhood as the $3.56 million midnight gross of last year's Prometheus. The late night start for Grown Ups 2 was a bit softer than the $2.63 million midnight gross of last year's Ted. In all likelihood, Grown Ups 2 will be less front-loaded than Pacific Rim as the weekend plays on, but whether or not the Adam Sandler led sequel can catch up with the Guillermo del Toro sci-fi action film this weekend remains to be seen.
Turning back to Thursday, Fox's The Heat and Disney's Monsters University claimed second and third place respectively with $2.72 million and $2.51 million. The Heat fell 9 percent from Wednesday, as the evening release of Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2 clearly had an effect on non-family films yesterday. Monsters University was down a more modest 5 percent from Wednesday as it continues to stabilize in the aftermath of the hit it took last week from Despicable Me 2. For the week, The Heat placed in third with $36.87 million and Monsters University placed in fourth with $30.60 million. To date, The Heat has grossed $98.36 million in 14 days, while Monsters University has grossed $227.14 million in 21 days.
Disney's The Lone Ranger continued to display lackluster holding power on Thursday as the big budget western was down 11 percent to remain in fourth with $2.31 million. The Lone Ranger claimed second place this week with $40.46 million, but has only managed a disappointing $59.96 million through nine days. The Lone Ranger is currently running 14 percent ahead of the $52.43 million nine-day start of 2009's Public Enemies, though the percentage gap between the two films continues to shrink.