Universal’s Despicable Me 2 is heading into a huge Fourth Of July weekend after it grossed $59.5m in the first two days in North America. By contrast Buena Vista’s The Lone Ranger, the other major tentpole release over this long holiday weekend, has returned mediocre numbers.

Despicable Me 2 brought in $24.5m on Thursday [4] following the $35m Wednesday launch. Universal sources said the debut resulted in the seventh biggest Wednesday opening, the biggest animation opening for a Wednesday and Universal’s biggest Wednesday debut.

Thursday’s haul ranks as the third biggest animation opening day behind Toy Story 3 and Shrek 3, the second biggest Jul 4 gross after $29.1m set by Transformers on Jul 3 2007 and the second biggest Thursday gross behind Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen’s $29.1m on Jun 23 2009.

The early worldwide running total stands at $135.3m including $75.8m from international territories.

Meanwhile The Lone Ranger starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp stands at $19.5m after Wednesday and Thursday.