The Universal sequel Despicable Me 2 has pummelled the Lone Ranger this weekend at the US box office. Despite the former’s lack or originality and obscene amount of marketing featuring those little rascals that are the minions, it had no trouble beating a $200 million movie about a man and his horse (kudos to whomever it was that made out on the stock of Consolidated Hay.) Here’s the thing though:
Has Despicable Me 2 spurred the production of yet more animated sequels?
It’s still far to early to tell, and Universal is far from DreamWorks in that they aren’t chomping at the bit to announce sequels after the opening weekend, however, it is almost a certainty that we’ll see a Despicable Me 3 being announced sometime in the not too distant future.
Monsters University has already more than proved worthy of a follow up in terms of its box office. The other original films coming out this year are a bit more of a toss up.
Epic performed admirably but far from monster-hit status. Disney’s Planes is apparently so awesome that the studio has already created an opening slot for it in 2014. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is looking good but not a definite and Frozen stays so close to the Disney formula that it there’s little point in even guessing.
That means that in all likelihood that Despicable Me 2 has done nothing to reduce the incentive for studios to keep producing sequels and an unprecedented rate. Even taking out Jeffrey Katzenberg’s monstrous appetite for the things, that leave almost every studio creating at least one. Pixar has none lined up for next year, but I unequivocally guarantee that either another Monsters or Cars movie is on the horizon.
The worry is of course that with such wobbles like the Lone Ranger, studios will concentrate even harder on proven winners; so averse to creativity that they willingly head towards extinction because it continues to bring in some money.
The key takeaway from all of this is that it leaves a massive door open for a cheap animated film to slide in and clean up shop. The original Despicable Me did it back in 2010. That was three years ago, it’s time for a repeat.