The last time Universal Pictures had a real big opening, a massive hit on their hands was when "Fast and Furious" surprised the industry with a $70 million debut over a year ago.  Now, some cute minions have powered the underdog 3-D animated comedy "Despicable Me" to a $21.7 million Friday and what should be a $55-60 million weekend. Considering the heartaches the studio has had with such flops as "Cirque du Freak" and "Greenzone," Monday will be a day of celebration on the Universal lot.  Especially as "Despicable" (which was considered anything but with critics) cost only $70 million to make.

Falling to the second slot was "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" with another $11 million for what should be a $30-32 million three-day cume.  As of Friday, "Eclipse" has grossed $214 million total which is now $16 million behind "New Moon" after the same number of days in theaters.  Is it possible "Eclipse" won't even match "New Moon's" $296 million gross?  It's looking entirely possible which has to be a concern for Summit Entertainment considering the better reviews and more action packed aspects of the story. 

Debuting in third was the Robert Rodriguez produced "Predators" which performed better than pre-release polling with a $10.5 million Friday.  The low budget Sci-Fi flick could end up with $25-28 million for the weekend.

Blockbuster "Toy Story 3" keeps going strong in fourth with another $6.5 million and what should be a $18-20 million take over the frame. The Pixar jewel is now at $325 million domestic.

Dropping significantly in fifth place was "The Last Airbender."  The M. Night Shymalan thriller grossed only $5.2 million for what could be a $15-17 million weekend.

Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.