Illumination/Universal’s Despicable Me 3 has one-upped its franchise brethren — and all others — with the biggest opening day ever for an animated film in China. The tale of Gru and Dru bowed today (Friday) with $20.1M in the Middle Kingdom. The Kyle Balda/Pierre Coffin-helmed film has also pushed Chris Meledandri’s Illumination across the $5B threshold at the worldwide box office.
While DM3‘s dollar figure in China is historically on par with the start of Despicable spinoff Minions in 2015, it’s 18% ahead of that film in local currency, without previews.
Minions was the previous record holder for an animated opening. It was given a Sunday date in September of 2015, following that year’s (unofficial) blackout period. Conversely, DM3 has the vaunted status of being the last Hollywood title released in the PROC ahead of what is likely going to be a long summer studio hiatus. (Bonus factoid: The first Despicable movie never released in China.)
DM3 is the 6th-biggest opening day of the year in China, beating Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Universal’s own The Mummy. It also scored a record for IMAX as the biggest Middle Kingdom debut day in the format.
The international box office total through Thursday is $171.6M (not including today’s China number) and global through Thursday is $286.8. DM3 still has rollout to come in 15 markets including this weekend’s France (where it logged the biggest Paris opening screenings of the year on Wednesday), Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Trinidad and Iceland.
Looking back at how Illumination got to $5B+ here’s a rundown of the other major titles: Despicable Me ($546M), Hop ($188.7M), Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($350.8M), Despicable Me 2 ($975.8M), Minions ($1.167B), The Secret Life Of Pets ($876.5M) and Sing ($633.2M).