In choosing between new releases this weekend, audiences across the nation opted not for expensive franchise movies featuring big movie stars.

By and large, moviegoers chose instead to see a comparatively cheap, well-crafted bit of horror.

Two sequels and an original sci-fi movie – Despicable Me 2, Grown Ups 2, and Pacific Rim – walk into a bar.

"Hey," says the bartender, "You look like the top three movies in America this weekend."

The bartender's sense of humor may be sorely lacking, but he is damned accurate.  Despicable Me 2 reigned supreme for the second consecutive week, and of the two new wide releases, a rare Adam Sandler sequel emerged with more estimated earnings than Guillermo del Toro's mechs-vs-monsters extravaganza.

At multiplexes all over the nation over this Fourth of July holiday, Despicable Me 2 stood triumphant over The Lone Ranger.

If Pixar were a female character in a high school movie, she'd be strutting down the hallway in slow motion.

That's because even facing competition from two new summer movies, Monsters University emerged atop the domestic box office for the second consecutive weekend.  One of this those two new movies, The Heat, exceeded expectations in second place.  The other, White House Down, not so much, earning less than last weekend's holdover World War Z.

For the most part, this weekend basically consisted of America high-fiving a bunch of big movies.  By which we mean to say that this was the biggest overall June weekend on record (not adjusted for inflation).

Predictably, Monsters University was atop the heap for this three-day frame, but World War Z fought off doomsayers with a surprisingly big haul in second place.

Much like a real life intern, this weekend's widest new release, The Internship, was marginalized and barely noticed as it went about its thankless task. 

The Purge, a  much cheaper horror tale, meanwhile, ran laps around the comedy, debuting in first place and making a big impression on this weekend between splashy summer spectaculars.

America, like Dominic Toretto, lives its life a quarter mile at a time.

It's not surprise, then, that Fast & Furious 6 once again dominated the domestic box office for the second consecutive week.  The illusion-filled thriller Now You See Me, meanwhile, surprised many a box office prognosticator by securing second place, while After Earth suffered the indignity of opening in third place despite its reliable star.

It's Memorial Day weekend, and Americans commemorated those U.S. military servicemen and women who've lost their lives with an orgy of automotive action.

On the one hand, Fast & Furious 6 emphatically defied the rule of diminished returns, while another big-time sequel, The Hangover Part III, proved the rule pretty effectively.  The week's other new wide release, the animated Epic, made a solid impression in fourth place.

The estimates are in, and you can tell it's the summer blockbuster season when a haul of more than $80 million over three days is considered a slight bummer.

As the only wide release over the weekend, there was never any doubt that Star Trek Into Darkness would open in first place by a wide margin.  And that's just how things shook out, with strong holdover performances from Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby contributing to a weekend that was up 10% from the same weekend a year ago, when audiences scratched their heads at Battleship.

After breaking out with the second-biggest opening weekend in domestic box office history, Iron Man 3 predictably hovered above the competition in first place this weekend.

But while The Great Gatsby couldn't knock Marvel's big dog off its pedestal, the 3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece nonetheless made a big commercial impression in second place with a more robust debut than expected.

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