Pre-holiday Box Office: “Despicable” out-runs “Cars,” “Baby Driver” blows up, “Beguiled” bombs


THE popcorn picture of the summer — that would be “Baby Driver,” to you toy robots/boys in tights/girls in bustiers folks — is headed to a MARVEL-ous $27 million opening weekend. Not comic-book level, not “Fast and Furious” franchise level.

Add in the Wed-Thursday numbers, and it’s a $30 million hit.

But without being a big name brand name picture, with a cast led by a little known young actor “famous” for supporting roles in lightly-regarded YA almost-hits, that’s impressive. Ansel Elgort now has his shot. Edgar Wright steps into the ranks of major box office directors.


Of course, the “brand name” picture of the weekend is dominating the box office. “Despicable Me 3” is headed to an $81 million opening. Parents and kids have built in expectations, thanks to the brand. And we all love those Minions. That’s $16 million more than “Cars 3” opening. Pow, right in the kisser, Pixar.

But seriously, the godawful/not-funny-in-the-least “Despicable” TV commercials should be your warning. This isn’t “Cars 3” bad, utterly devoid of laughs. The Minions see to that. Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig trying to improvise TV spots where they switch personalities? Painful. Just like the picture. Even Universal marketing’s lamest efforts don’t matter. The SECOND weekend, though — watch out. This dog will have that canine word of mouth about it.

The second weekend is most telling for “Transformers: The Last Knight.” The fifth “Transformers” pic, phoned in all around, fell off the table after its opening weekend. Third place and plummeting. It almost lost a place to “Wonder Woman,” which has been out forever.

The not-suspenseful/not-scary/not horrific “The Beguiled” is a bomb. Barely cracked the top ten in wide release. Sofia Coppola remakes a creepy Clint Eastwood chiller from the early 70s (Don Siegel directed), and TOTALLY misses the point. And even though the champagne-drunk dopes at Cannes thought it a masterpiece, domestic critics are having a laugh at it and audiences know to stay away.

New Line/Warners didn’t preview “The House” because they know what Mariah Carey, edited out of the picture for “diva” behavior, must have sensed. It’s terrible, a no-script crap out that relies on Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler to riff it into amusing.

They don’t. It’s still earning $9 million+ based on their names and TV ads.



About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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