Weekend Box Office: Minions Mint Millions

The North American box office kept rolling right along this weekend as Universal’s Minions arrived on the scene to deliver the second biggest opening of all time for an animated feature. Despite the mega arrival of Minions, many holdover titles displayed decent staying power. Because of this, the top ten surged 58% over last weekend’s totals and 51% over the top ten from one year ago.

The Despicable Me prequel, which features the voice talents of Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton and Allison Janney, arrived on 4,130 screens last Thursday at six pm where it went on to earn a spectacular $115.7 million. Combined with $280 million from overseas markets from the past few weeks and the film is already knocking at the $400 million mark. Not bad for a production that only cost $76 million to make.

The domestic opening was double the numbers that the original Despicable Me brought in five years ago and roughly 40% higher than the first weekend for Despicable Me 2. Reviews for Minions weren’t as strong as they were for the two Despicable films, but viewers enjoyed what they saw. They gave the film an “A” CinemaScore rating, which should help keep the film a popular family choice throughout the summer.

Awareness was through the roof for Kevin, Stuart and Bob’s first solo film. Of course, the Minions were well known from the two Gru adventures. There was also the mini-movies added to the home video releases of Despicable Me 1 and 2, which helped fuel their popularity. Wherever you looked in the weeks leading up to the debut of Minions, chances were pretty good that you saw one of the loveable little yellow dudes attached to some sort of promotional tie-in. With Inside Out having already earned the lion’s share of its box office gross, kids and families were more than ready for some new animated hijinks.

The monster opening for Minions continues Universal Pictures’ white-hot streak at the 2015 box office. While Blackhat and Seventh Son were costly flops for the Comcast-owned studio, Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 and Jurassic World have been anything but. Each film has exceeded box office expectations-sometimes wildly- and has helped the studio command an unprecedented 26% o the marketplace. Universal’s next release is the Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck, which arrives on Friday.

Still kicking up a storm in second place was Jurassic World, which slid a modest 38% in its fifth weekend on 3,441 screens where it earned $18.1 million. With $590.6 million in the bank, the film should cross the $600 million during the week. It should pass The Avengers as the third highest grossing film of all time within the next two weeks. Foreign numbers currently stand at $875 million and could pass the $1 billion mark when Japan debuts the film on August 4th.

Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out withstood the Minions onslaught rather well, earning $17.6 million from 3,644 theaters in its fourth weekend of release. To date, the critically acclaimed feature has earned $284 million and is heading to at least $325 million by the end of its domestic run. The film has banked an impressive $152 million from only half of the International market so far and should be able to at least triple its foreign gross by the end of its overseas’ run (if not more).

In fourth place with a decent hold was Paramount’s Terminator: Genisys with $13.8 million from 3,783 theaters. The film was off 49% off of its Fourth of July holiday weekend opening and has a twelve day total of $68.8 million domestically and $156 million from international markets. The film currently is running 26% behind the previous film Terminator: Salvation and is looking like it will finish around $95-100 million.

Two other features opened alongside Minions this past weekend, Warner’s The Gallows and Focus Features’ Self/Less. Of the two The Gallows made the biggest impression, landing in fifth place with a weak $9.8 million from 2,720 theaters. Critics hated it and audiences weren’t all that enamored either. The film dropped a steep 31% on its second day of release, a telltale sign of bad word-of-mouth.

The news was even worse for Self/Less, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley. The Tarsem Singh-directed suspense thriller was trashed by critics and ignored by the public. Opening on 2,353 screens Self/Less could only scrape together $5.4 million to land in eighth place. Watch for both The Gallows and Self/Less to be a distant memory by the end of July.

The remainder of the top ten was as follows:
6.  Magic Mike XXL (Warner) $9.5 million (-25%); $48 million

7.   Ted 2 (Universal) $5.6 million (-49%); $71.6 million

9.  Baahubali: The Beginning (Bluesky) $3.57 million (new)

10. Max (Warner) $3.54 million (-46%); $33.8 million

Friday brings the arrival of Disney/Marvel’s latest superhero flick Ant Man and Universal’s adult comedy Trainwreck.

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