While they've got a five-day "weekend" to work with, experts are projecting that Despicable Me 2 will make over $100 million and might end up around $125 million for the five days. That would make it bigger after its first weekend than any film this year besides Iron Man 3, but it's a misleading number since it will be five full days and a holiday weekend as opposed to three (plus/minus Man of Steel's corporate screenings and The Lone Ranger's 8 p.m. Thursday shows) for most other films.
At any rate, it's a monster opening that sets the stage nicely for the Minions spinoff planned for next year and starring Sandra Bullock as the supervillain that the minions served before Steve Carell's Gru. It's a family film that's expected to open huge for the Fourth of July holiday (it reportedly already grossed $35 million in Wednesday screenings) and then take an enormous hit on the second weekend, but by that point it will have made enough money to satisfy its producers.
Disney's costly reboot of The Lone Ranger, meanwhile, appears dead on arrival, taking in less than $10 million on Wednesday for a projected box office haul of around $55 million. That's less than even the low-ball $60 million that Disney were projecting and significantly less than the $70 million that Box Office Mojo suggested they needed in order to maintain any kind of respectability. Bad reviews and word-of-mouth have most analysts expecting a huge drop-off in the second week for this film, so it needed a big opening and failing that, it's looking like it'll be a huge loss for Disney. Not John Carter bad, mind you--but if it gives you any sense for things, Box Office Mojo compared the film to Cowboys & Aliens in terms of its first-weekend earning potential...and then it underperformed in the first day. Star Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have a lot of goodwill built up with the studio from all those Pirates of the Caribbean movies, though, so don't be surprised if Disney invests a little more money next week to try and give this thing some life past the opening weekend.
Also, don't be surprise if it doesn't work--or if they cut their losses and pretend the whole thing never happened.