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‘Minions’ set box office on fire with USD108.5M debut

Lindsey Bahr

AP – Families went bananas for Minions this weekend at the movie theatre. Minions: The Rise of Gru brought in an estimated USD108.5 million in ticket sales from 4,391 screens in North America, Universal Pictures said on Sunday. By the end of the Monday’s July Fourth holiday, earned over USD127.9 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 made USD115.9 million in its first four days in 2011. Including international showings, where Minions: The Rise of Gru is playing in 61 markets, its worldwide gross is sitting at USD202.2 million through Sunday.

“It’s a tremendous debut,” said Universal’s president of domestic distribution Jim Orr. “It’s playing very broadly across North America. Every single market doing extraordinarily well.”

This is just the latest in a string of successes for Universal’s family releases, including Sing 2, which has grossed over USD406 million since opening in December, and The Bad Guys, which has made over USD243 million. Minions: The Rise of Gru serves as further proof that family audiences are willing to go back to the movie theatre.

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

Minions 2 attracted all ages to the theatre, even the very young. According to PostTrak surveys, 12 per cent were under the age of 10.

Stuart the Minion in a scene from ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’. PHOTO: AP

“For many months there was this idea that family audiences were not going to come back to the theatre. We can put that to rest,” said the senior media analyst for Comscore Paul Dergarabedian.

The spinoff of the popular Despicable Me series was delayed two years because of the pandemic. The sequel to the 2015 film Minions was originally slated for a July 2020 release.

While many other animated family films opted for streaming or hybrid releases, Minions, much like Top Gun: Maverick, stayed the course and waited for an ideal time to launch in theatres only. And as with Top Gun the wait, it seems, was worth it.

“This became an event. It was a holiday weekend, the release date was perfect, the marketing was spot on,” Dergarabedian said. “And everyone knew this was going to be in theatres only.”

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

Universal and Illumination have had enormous success with the five Despicable Me movies and spinoffs, which date back to 2010 and have earned over USD3.7 billion at the global box office.

In second place was Top Gun: Maverick, which continues to deliver six weeks in, adding another USD25.5 million to its total, which has already surpassed USD1 billion. The Paramount Pictures film is still playing in 3,843 locations.

Warner Bros’ Elvis took third place, down only 39 per cent in its second weekend in theatres.

The Baz Luhrmann film grossed an estimated USD19 million through Sunday, bringing its domestic total to USD67.3 million.

Fourth and fifth place went to Universal titles as well with Jurassic World: Dominion picking up another USD15.7 million and the horror movie The Black Phone adding USD12.3 million through Sunday.

Disney’s Lightyear, meanwhile, tumbled further in its third weekend with an estimated USD6.5 million. That total should raise to USD8.1 million bringing its cumulative earnings to USD106.9 million. Bleecker Street released Mr Malcolm’s List this weekend on 1,384 screens in the US and Canada. The Regency-era comedy of manners stars Freida Pinto and Zawe Ashton as friends looking to get back at a picky bachelor. The studio estimates that the film will have USD851,853 by end of Sunday and over USD1 million by this week.

Audiences are also still catching up with A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, which added an estimated USD552,000 from 607 screens, in spite of the fact that it’s also available to rent on demand. The studio’s newer title, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, expanded to 22 screens this weekend and is expected to earn about USD308,000.

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