"Despicable Me 2," a sequel to the 2010 animated blockbuster, was far and away the top movie at North American cinemas over the July 4 holiday weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The comedy, starring villain-turned-doting-father Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his adorable little yellow minions, raked in an impressive $82.5 million beginning Friday.

That put it nearly three times ahead of its nearest rival, "The Lone Ranger." Another new release, the film starring Johnny Depp as the iconic sidekick Tonto debuted with $29.4 million from Friday, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Third place went to buddy flick "The Heat" starring Sandra Bullock as a talented but haughty FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy as a rough-and-ready Boston cop, with $25 million.

"Monsters University," a prequel to Pixar's 2001 hit "Monsters, Inc.," dropped to fourth place after two weeks in number one, with $19.6 million.

The animated movie that tells how monster buddies Mike and Sulley became friends and honed their scaring skills has earned $216.1 million since it opened in the US three weeks ago.

"World War Z," starring Brad Pitt as a former UN investigator trying to save the world from a zombie invasion, took in $18.2, good enough for fifth place.

Next was Roland Emmerich's "White House Down," about a paramilitary group that tries to seize the White House. It garnered $13.5 million in its second week.

"Man of Steel," the Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill, dropped to seventh place, with $11.4 million, and a total of $271 million over four weeks.

Another newcomer, "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," featuring material from a Madison Square Garden performance by the stand-up comedian, opened with $10.1 million, for eighth place.

"This is the End," about a group of friends invited to a party who become witnesses to the Apocalypse, was in ninth place with $5.8 million.

Rounding out the top ten, "Now You See Me," about an FBI agent and an Interpol detective who hunt down a team of bank robbing illusionists, earned $2.8 million.