In-form Universal maintained winning ways as the family sequel Despicable Me 2 amassed $82.5m over three days and $142.1m over the four-day July Fourth weekend, while Disney’s The Lone Ranger flopped in second place.

Overall the top 12 scored a record $220m for the three-day portion of Independence Day weekend to climb approximately 21% against last year’s session.

Despicable Me 2 scored the third biggest three-day portion of Independence Day weekend behind Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and Spider-Man 2. The film launched across a large swathe of international territories where a sturdy $88.8m ensured global domination to the tune of $293.2m.

Universal reunited with its animation partner Illumination Entertainment from the 2010 original and the film stars Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig.

Buena Vista’s The Lone Ranger boasts a bigger international star than the number one release but not even the charms of Johnny Depp allied to the good looks of co-star Armie Hammer could save the Western reboot.

The Lone Ranger grossed $29.4m over the Friday-Sunday period and $48.9m over five days. It will require a gargantuan effort from the international markets to put the $215m-plus film into profit.

Elsewhere there was good news for Disney as Pixar’s Monsters University crossed $200m in its third weekend, while Paramount’s World War Z surged past $150m after the same amount of time.

Fox’s buddy comedy The Heat remained on course to cross $100m as Sony’s White House Down continued to struggle in its second weekend and Warner Bros’ Man Of Steel neared $275m after four sessions.

Summit’s concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain opened in eighth place through Lionsgate on $10.1m over three days. Fox Searchlight’s much publicised Sundance acquisition The Way, Way Back debuted in 13th place on $575,000 from 19 for a mighty $30,263 per-screen average.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Warner Bros’ monsters vs robots epic Pacific Rim from Guillermo del Toro and the Sony comedy Grown Ups 2 with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade.

Estimated Top 10 North America Jul 5-7 2013
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Despicable Me 2 (Universal) UPI $82.5m $142.1m
2 (-) The Lone Ranger (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $29.4m $48.9m
3 (2) The Heat (Fox) Fox Int’l $25m $86.4m
4 (1) Monsters University (Buena Vista/Pixar) WDSMPI $19.6m $216.1m
5 (3) World War Z (Paramount) PPI $18.2m $158.8m
6 (4) White House Down (Sony) SPRI $13.5m $50.5m
7 (5) Man Of Steel (Warner Bros) WBPI $11.4m $271.2m
8 (-) Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (Lionsgate-Summit) Lionsgate Int’l $10.1m $17.5m
9 (6) This Is The End (Sony) SPRI $5.8m $85.6m
10 (7) Now You See Me (Lionsgate-Summit) Lionsgate Int’l $72.8m $110.4m