‘Minions’ movie sets box office on fire with $108.5 million debut

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By the end of the Monday July 4 holiday, it will likely have grossed over $127.9 million.

NEW YORK — Families went crazy for Minions this weekend at the movies. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” has grossed an estimated $108.5 million in ticket sales from 4,391 screens in North America, Universal Pictures said Sunday. By the end of the Monday July 4 holiday, it will likely have grossed over $127.9 million.

The film is on track to become one of the biggest openings ever for a July 4 holiday weekend, a record previously held by ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ which grossed $115.9 million in during its first four days in 2011. Including international screenings, where “Minions: The Rise of Gru” plays in 61 markets, its worldwide revenue is $202.2 million through Sunday.

“It’s a great start,” said Jim Orr, president of national distribution for Universal. “He plays very widely across North America. Every market is doing extraordinarily well.

It’s just the latest in a string of hits for Universal’s family releases, including “Sing 2,” which has grossed more than $406 million since opening in December, and “The Bad Guys,” which grossed over $243 million. Rise of Gru” is further proof that family audiences are ready to return to the movies.

“Families feel very comfortable bringing all of their children to the theater,” Orr said. “These results speak for themselves.”

“Minions 2” attracted all ages to the theater, even the youngest. According to PostTrak polls, 12% were under 10 years old.

“For many long months there was this idea that family audiences weren’t going to come back to the theater. We can put that to rest,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.

The spin-off of the popular “Despicable Me” series has been delayed for two years due to the pandemic. The sequel to 2015’s “Minions” movie was originally slated for a July 2020 release. While many other animated family movies have opted for streaming or hybrid releases, “Minions,” much like “Top Gun: Maverick,” has stayed the course and waited for the perfect time to launch in theaters only. And as with “Top Gun”, the wait, it seems, was worth it.

“It has become an event. It was a holiday weekend, the release date was perfect, the marketing was perfect,” Dergarabedian said. “And everyone knew it was only going to be in theaters.”

The voice cast includes Steve Carell, reprising his role as Gru, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh and Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother. Reviews were mixed to positive (it currently has 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences were more enthusiastic, giving Gru’s origin story an A CinemaScore.

Universal and Illumination have had huge success with the five Despicable Me films and spinoffs, which date back to 2010 and have grossed more than $3.7 billion at the worldwide box office.

In second place was “Top Gun: Maverick,” which continues to deliver six weeks later, adding another $25.5 million to its total, which has already topped $1 billion. The Paramount Pictures movie is still playing in 3,843 locations.

Warner Bros.’ “Elvis” took third place, down just 39% in its second weekend in theaters. Baz Luhrmann’s film has grossed around $19 million through Sunday, bringing its domestic total to $67.3 million.

Fourth and fifth place also went to Universal titles with “Jurassic World: Dominion” raking in an additional $15.7 million and horror flick “The Black Phone” adding $12.3 million through Sunday.

Disney’s “Lightyear,” meanwhile, fell further in its third weekend with an estimated $6.5 million. By Monday, that total is expected to reach $8.1 million, bringing its cumulative revenue to $106.9 million.

Bleecker Street released “Mr. Malcolm’s List” this weekend on 1,384 screens in the United States and Canada. The Regency-era comedy of manners stars Freida Pinto and Zawe Ashton as friends trying to get over a difficult bachelor. The studio estimates the film will have $851,853 by the end of Sunday and over $1 million by the end of Monday.

Audiences are also catching up with A24’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which added around $552,000 from 607 screens, despite also being available for on-demand rental. The studio’s new title, “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” expanded to 22 screens over the weekend and is expected to gross around $308,000 by the end of Monday.

According to Comscore, the weekend as a whole will go down as one of the most important of the pandemic era. And the momentum is set to continue with the release of Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” next week.

Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Tuesday.

1. “Minions: The Rise of Gru”, $108.5 million.

2. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $25.5 million.

3. “Elvis”, $19 million.

4. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $15.7 million.

5. “The Black Phone,” $12.3 million.

6. “Lightyear,” $6.6 million.

7. “Mr. Malcolm List, $851,853.

8. “Everything everywhere at the same time”, $551,974.

9. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $390,000.

10. “JugJugg Jeeyo,” $318,000.

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