Nell Minow, Beliefnet
The 4th of July weekend is always one of the biggest box office weeks of the year and this year broke the record again. Sequel Despicable Me 2 was the undisputed champ, with a whalloping $82 million, helped out a bit by the 3D surcharge. This was a big boost from the original’s $56 million open. For me, the meaningful number is not the total but the per-theater take. For “DM2″ it was an impressive $20,645. “Lone Ranger,” battling bad reviews and, with a two and a half hour running time, fewer shows to sell tickets to, made $29 million, with an anemic $7539 per theater.
The movie that performed above expectations — Hollywood expectations, not the predictions of anyone who’s been paying attention to Hart’s mastery of viral marketing and popularity with his audience — was Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, with $10 million in box office receipts and $11,530 per theater. “The Heat” held on for a strong second-week showing against tough competition. But perhaps the most impressive ticket sales number of the weekend was for the film that could be this year’s breakout indie, The Way Way Back, starring Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell. It made a stunning $30,263 per theater.