'Despicable Me 2' tops American box office

CUTE GIBBERISH. Catch the minions in 'Despicable Me 2.' Image from the movie's Facebook page

CUTE GIBBERISH. Catch the minions in 'Despicable Me 2.

' Image from the movie's Facebook page

LOS ANGELES, USA - "Despicable Me 2," a sequel to the 2010 animated blockbuster, was far and away the top movie at North American cinemas over the July 4 holiday weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The comedy, starring villain-turned-doting-father Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his adorable little yellow minions, raked in an impressive US$82.5 million beginning Friday.

Watch this mini-movie starring the Minions and a banana:

That put it nearly 3 times ahead of its nearest rival, "The Lone Ranger." Another new release, the film starring Johnny Depp as the iconic sidekick Tonto debuted with US$29.4 million from Friday, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Third place went to buddy flick "The Heat" starring Sandra Bullock as a talented but haughty FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy as a rough-and-ready Boston cop, with US$25 million.

"Monsters University," a prequel to Pixar's 2001 hit "Monsters, Inc.," dropped to 4th place after two weeks in number one, with US$19.6 million.

The animated movie that tells how monster buddies Mike and Sulley became friends and honed their scaring skills has earned US$216.1 million since it opened in the US 3 weeks ago.

"World War Z," starring Brad Pitt as a former UN investigator trying to save the world from a zombie invasion, took in US$18.2, good enough for 5th place.

Next was Roland Emmerich's "White House Down," about a paramilitary group that tries to seize the White House. It garnered US$13.5 million in its second week.

"Man of Steel," the Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill, dropped to 7th place, with US$11.4 million, and a total of US$271 million over 4 weeks.

Another newcomer, "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," featuring material from a Madison Square Garden performance by the stand-up comedian, opened with US$10.1 million, for 8th place.

"This is the End," about a group of friends invited to a party who become witnesses to the Apocalypse, was in 9th place with US$5.8 million.

Roudning out the top 10, "Now You See Me," about an FBI agent and an Interpol detective who hunts down a team of bank robbing illusionists, earned US$2.8 million. - Rappler.com