‘Despicable Me’ likely to surpass ‘Shrek Forever After’ in domestic box office

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

With summer coming to a close, the season’s animation underdog is poised to upset a king.

“Despicable Me” has sold a total of $236.1 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada. Though its box-office run will end in the next few weeks, the animated family film is almost certain to surpass the $238-million total for “Shrek Forever After,” which virtually has finished its time in theaters.

“Shrek Forever After” is the fourth entry in a hugely successful animated series from DreamWorks Animation; “Despicable Me” is the first movie from Universal Pictures’ new Illumination Entertainment family label and is based on an original story.

Making their ultimate ranking at the box office even more surprising is that “Despicable Me” had a smaller opening weekend: $56.4 million, compared with $70.8 million for “ Shrek Forever After.” But audience interest in “Despicable Me” has lasted longer, and the film has grossed more than four times its first weekend take. “Shrek Forever After” had softer, though still good, word of mouth, ending up with a little more than three times its opening gross.

Many international moviegoers still haven’t given their verdict, though. “Despicable Me” has so far grossed $70 million overseas but has yet to open in a number of key countries, including most of Europe. “Shrek Forever After” has nearly finished its foreign run and racked up an impressive $455.5 million.

In two big countries where both movies have launched, Brazil and Russia, “Shrek” is far ahead.