Los Angeles — The Minions are still a box office force and original stories are scoring big, but not the R-rated comedy — even with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler behind it.
Studio estimates on Sunday say that Universal Pictures and Illumination's Despicable Me 3 earned $75.4m over the weekend, while the former Saturday Night Live stars' gambling comedy The House burned down.
Featuring the voices of Steve Carell and Trey Parker, Despicable Me 3 easily topped the holiday weekend charts from 4 529 theaters in North America.
Edgar Wright's original heist movie Baby Driver coasted to $30m in its first five days in theatres, with $21m from the three-day weekend to take second place. Sony Pictures released the R-rated pic which stars Jamie Foxx, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey and cost a reported $34m to produce.
"How great it is to see audiences turn out to support original filmmaking," said Josh Greenstein, Sony's president of worldwide marketing and distribution. "They've made Baby Driver the surprise hit of the summer, a true sleeper."
The R-rated film did well with critics and is one of a handful of original or independent films this weekend that are notable successes.
Sofia Coppola's R-rated Civil War-set film The Beguiled scored in its expansion from four to 674 theatres in its second weekend. It earned $3.3m to take eighth place and bested franchise fare including The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which were both playing in over 1 670 theatres.
The well-reviewed romantic comedy The Big Sick also did good business in its expansion to 71 locations, earning $1.7m.
Rounding out the top five were holdovers Transformers: The Last Knight in third with $17m, followed by Wonder Woman with $15.6m and Cars 3 with $9.5m.
Not so successful was suburban gambling comedy The House which landed in sixth place with only $9m — one of the lowest of Ferrell's career and the latest in a string of R-rated comedies to tank at the box office following Rough Night and Baywatch.
"The R-rated comedy used to be the antidote to the typical summer blockbuster and now those films are having a tough time," said Dergarabedian noting success stories like The Hangover, Bridesmaids and Neighbours. ''Now people feel like they've seen that movie before when they watch the trailer. They've lost interest."
Overall, the summer box office continues to struggle and is down nearly 8% from last year, while the year to date is close to flat. But the summer box office roller coaster may still have some surprises in store.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing in action later this week and, like Wonder Woman before it, could turn things around," Dergarabedian said. "But we need more than one box office superhero, we need multiple films performing."