Movie Studios Hope We Celebrate July 4 At Theaters

The long holiday weekend follows on the heels of a record-setting May and June at the box office. This month begins with the return of the lucrative family-friendly franchise: Despicable Me 2.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For the movie business, Independence Day is usually the biggest box office holiday after Christmas. And as NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, Hollywood fully expects this holiday to be Christmas in July.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: We're right on the heels of a record-setting May and a record-setting June for the box office. And July's starting off with the return of a lucrative family friendly franchise: "Despicable Me 2."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

STEVE CARELL: (as Gru) Right, baby. Gru's back in the game.

ULABY: Exhibitor relations analyst, Jeff Bock, says this weekend "Despicable Me 2" could pull in as much as 20 to 30 million dollars a day.

JEFF BOCK: Honestly, it's the only film left in the season that really has any shot of surpassing "Iron Man 3" as the number one film of summer.

ULABY: Bock says "Despicable Me 2" is already breaking records overseas where it's in limited release.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL #1: (as character) Are you really gonna save the world?

CARELL: (as Gru) Yes, I am.

BOCK: Yeah, we are talking about worldwide domination here.

ULABY: Bock believes the holiday falling on Thursday will not hurt ticket sales, given the crush of strong films people still want to see, such as "Monsters University" and "The Heat."

BOCK: That leaves "The Lone Ranger" in something of a bind.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE LONE RANGER")

ARMIE HAMMER: (as John Reid) You want me to wear a mask?

ULABY: Big-budget Westerns often flop at the box office - think Will Smith's "Wild Wild West," "Jonah Hex" or "Cowboys and Aliens."

BOCK: It's just another in the long line in trying to convince people to go see a Western. And it doesn't help that Johnny Depp is wearing a dead crow on his head.

ULABY: Disney could consider a cue from Sony Pictures and the four largest movie theater chains. They've offered free tickets to the movie "White House Down" to active military personnel and to veterans for the Fourth of July. Neda Ulaby, NPR News.

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