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Just because this is the weekend that Spider-Man: Homecoming opened and pretty much owned, doesn't mean there weren't other films who were cleaning up. While Spider-Man was busy laying claim to the States, Despicable Me 3 was opening in China, where the animated film has been thriving. The threequel had a good opening weekend domestically last week and now it's gone on to break quite an impressive record over in China. Despicable Me 3 had the best opening for an animated film ever in the country.
While Despicable Me 3 is still performing well domestically, the animated film had done extremely well in China. According to Variety, the movie grossed $20.1 million on its opening day, making it the highest debut ever for an animated film in China. Despicable Me 3 went on to finish its first weekend in China with $66 million. That drove its international earnings at the box office to about $300 million.
Domestically, Despicable Me 3 takes second place behind Spider-Man: Homecoming, which hit $117 million -- just shy of the $120 million it looked like it was going to gross. Despicable Me 3 took home $34 million for Illumination, bringing its domestic cume to just short of $150 million. Combined with its international gross, that puts the film at almost $450 million worldwide. While the film has so far underperformed compared to the previous entries, it's hard not to think that Illumination isn't considering another adventure for Gru and his Minions given how well the series continues to perform at large.
As for why the Despicable Me series has performed so well overseas, it can likely be placed on the tiny yellow backs on the Minions. For proof, we really only need to look at the previous No. 1 animated movie opening in China, which was, you guessed it, Minions. The animated spin-off broke the record two years ago with $17.5 million.
It also helps that Illumination marketed the crap out of Despicable Me 3 in China. Train stations, subways cars, and some McDonalds' were redecorated yellow for the movie, making it almost inescapable. The most prominent of the promotions was a tie-in with bicycle sharing startup Ofo, which Minion-ized its bikes so that people were literally riding around on Minions.
Despicable Me 3 continues the story of Gru (Steve Carell) and his family as the former supervillain discovers he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru (also Steve Carell), who wants to rope Gru back into a life of villainy. Though the film has gotten mostly middling reviews, that clearly doesn't matter in this case, as people are still packing into theaters to see the animated threequel.
Despicable Me 3 is currently out in theaters right now. To learn more about all the movies hitting theaters soon, check out our 2017 movie release guide.