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New in Theaters July 03: Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, Let Me Explain

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By Chris Kavan - 07/03/13 at 06:57 AM CT

Welcome to special early edition of the weekend box office preview. Thanks to the 4th of July landing on Thursday, Hollywood is rolling out all the major films early to get that extra push. It's been a good run for Hollywood and holiday weekends usually attract a big audience so you have to be pretty confident scheduling a movie this weekend. As it stands, an animated sequel, a big-budget possible franchise launch and a popular stand-up comedian all look to capture this extended weekend.

DESPICABLE ME 2 I am a big fan of the original Despicable Me - Steve Carell is a great choice for the "evil" Gru and his three adopted girls are likewise perfectly cast - and those Minions (getting a spin-off film of their own) steal the show with their antics. As long as the formula remains the same, I don't see why this sequel will be any less fun than the original. It appears Gru has retired from being evil, but is brought back in to track down a new supervillain on the loose. Even though it faces a tough fight with Monsters University - I would give this film the edge. I know out of pretty much every animated film coming out this year, this is the one I'm looking forward to the most.

THE LONE RANGER After successfully launching the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise into a billion dollar business, can Disney and Johnny Depp have lightning strike twice? The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) teams up with the top-billed Tonto (Depp) to bring some masked justice to the old west. Early reviews are not being that kind to the film - but audiences often just plain don't care. This is a big movie with big names, and I think it will do just fine. I do have my own trepidations, but I will at least check it out - the telling factor on whether this is a one-shot or a potential franchise starter will be what the word-of-mouth is from the general public.

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN In 2011, Keven Hart broke records with Laugh at My Pain - the highest-grossing comedy tour of all time and one of the most successful stand up comedy films of all time as well. If Hart can find as much success with Let Me Explain - he will have another great year to talk about. He has already appeared in This Is the End, and has several upcoming projects but stand-up is his forte. Because his target audience is mostly urban and black, if he can get his target market to show up, he should be very successful. Who know, it may be Hart who is laughing all the way to the bank even if the blockbusters get more credit.

June was a record-breaking month due to the strong showings by Man of Steel, Monsters U, World War Z and the steady business of Now You See Me. If July can match the success of last month, 2013 might yet pull out of that early slump. Back in April 2013 was down 12% compared to 2012, but now that gap has narrowed to just 2%. We'll see how strong July opens this Sunday after an extended holiday weekend.


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