When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2017, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

DESPICABLE ME 3
UNIVERSAL/ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT

THE FILM

This is the fifth time that Chris Meledandri’s  Illumination Entertainment has scored a spot in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament, including the top spots from last year’s The Secret Life of Pets and 2013’s Despicable Me 2Unlike the old DreamWorks Animation days where production budgets ran high at $150M a film, Melendandri has mastered the means of making star-studded movies with production costs well under $100M, and that’s what continually keeps Illumination entries profitable. It’s fair to say that Steve Carell’s villain Gru and the Minions are wearing thin with U.S. audiences: Despicable Me 3 delivered a domestic gross ($264.6m) that was down 21% from Minions and 28% below the series high reached on Despicable Me 2. However, families in developing theatrical markets like China, Brazil and South Korea continually embrace these characters and made this threequel the second title in the franchise to eclipse the $1 billion mark, after Minions’ $1.15 billion.

THE BOX SCORE

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

THE BOTTOM LINE

Despicable Me 3‘s profit of $366.2M is lower than Minions’ ($502.3M) but not that far from the amount reached by last year’s champ The Secret Life of Pets ($374.6M). Participations here at $35M are higher than such star ensemble Illumination movies such as Secret Life of Pets ($15M) and Sing ($20M). This is due to Carell, whose creative involvement in these productions extend beyond just providing voiceovers (this time he did double duty as Gru and his brother Dru). Next up for Illumination is a new take on Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch with Sherlock Holmes’  Benedict Cumberbatch on Nov. 9.