That Despicable Me managed to open to $60 million a few weeks after Toy Story 3 and before The Sorcerer's Apprentice makes it seem almost too easy. Not to demean the efforts of the fine folks who worked on the film, but it is starting to seem like 3-D computer-animated features with even a little marketing muscle behind them just can't lose right now.

Granted, Despicable Me had the benefit of an all-star cast and favorable reviews. The weekend's other major debut, Predators, could boast neither of these things (though its reviews were somewhat better than expected, on account of the fact that it's actually pretty good) -- but it did have a franchise name, and the benefit of being the only R-rated genre flick at the multiplex right now. Its $25 million opening is pretty strong, considering, and far better than the miserable last Aliens vs. Predator movie. It shows the potential of well-timed counterprogramming. It may also take this series off life support (in a good way).

Toy Story 3 became both the highest-grossing movie of 2010 (passing Alice in Wonderland), and the highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time (passing Finding Nemo). Well-deserved on both counts. The all-time animation crown looks out of reach (it's about $100 million away from Shrek 2's monster $440 million number), especially with all the family film competition in the coming weeks, but I don't think anyone at Pixar will be shedding tears. Meanwhile, Eclipse looks on track to be the richest Twilight flick in a couple weeks' time, and The Last Airbender took the expected big hit in its second weekend (though still eking its way to $100 million).

The full chart after the jump.

1 - Despicable Me (Universal) - $60.1 ($17,295) - new - $60.1
2 - Eclipse (Summit) - $33.4 ($7,475) - 49% - $237.0
3 - Predators (Fox) - $25.3 ($9,479) - new - $25.3
4 - Toy Story 3 (Disney) - $22.0 ($5,862) - 27% - $340.2
5 - The Last Airbender (Paramount) - $17.2 ($5,354) - 57% - $100.2
6 - Grown Ups (Sony) - $16.4 ($4,736) - 14% - $111.3
7 - Knight & Day (Fox) - $7.9 ($2,987) - 25% - $61.9
8 - The Karate Kid (Sony) - $5.7 ($2,319) - 29% - $164.6
9 - The A-Team (Fox) - $1.8 ($1,456) - 44% - $74.0
10 - Cyrus (Fox Searchlight) - $1.4 ($6,875) - +78% - $3.5
11 - The Girl Who Played with Fire (Music Box) - $1.0 ($8,773) - $1.0

Next week: The Sorcerer's Apprentice gets a Wednesday head start on the long-awaited Inception. It's a bit hard to tell if the fevered anticipation for Inception is widespread, or limited to geek circles.