"Despicable Me" wasn't such a bad guy after all, it seems, opening at the top of the box office with an estimated $60.1 million.
The first 3-D animated movie from Universal Pictures stars Steve Carell as the voice of Gru, a bumbling villain with plans to steal the moon - until three orphan girls enter his life. Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews are among the voice cast.
Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, said yesterdaySunday that "Despicable Me" far exceeded the studio's expectations for opening weekend.
"Thirty (million) would have been a win for the studio - because it's a new creative idea, we really didn't know what we had, so we backed in saying $30 (million)," said Rocco. "I would never have said $50 million-plus." Rocco believes a number of factors worked in the movie's favor, including jokes for the kids and more grown-up humor and a warmhearted story for adults. But the tiny, yellow Minions - quirky, pill-shaped creatures who spout gibberish and help Gru carry out his dastardly plans - were appealing to both, and were a huge part of the film's marketing campaign.
The week's other new wide release, "Predators," grossed $25.3 million to open at No. 3. A sequel of sorts to 1987's "Predator," the 20th Century Fox film stars Adrien Brody and Laurence Fishburne as mercenaries being stalked by alien hunters. Last week's juggernaut, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," fell to second place with $33.35 million.