AceShowbiz - "Minions: The Rise of Gru" has risen as the strongest performer at the North American box office. The Illumination animated comedy film debuts at the top of the chart with an estimated $108 million over the weekend.
With its current pace, the fifth and latest entry overall in the "Despicable Me" franchise is poised to break Fourth of July record. By the time that July 4th rolls around on Monday, the sequel to the spin-off prequel "Minions" is expected to bring in a sizable $127.9 million.
The number would set a new record for the highest film opening over Independence Day. The movie would overtake the title from Paramount's 2011 blockbuster "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", which brought in $115.9 million over the four-day holiday weekend.
"This is a sensational opening," says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. "Family animation, more than any other genre, has struggled to find its footing during the pandemic. This weekend, 'Minions' is breaking through and big animation is back in business."
Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution, attributes the movie's success to its light tone as well as the cast and the crew. " 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' is a joyous film," he gushes. "Illumination and [its CEO] Chris Meledandri have done an amazing job with this franchise. And Steve Carell as Gru… it doesn't get any better than that."
Overseas markets are expected to turn more profits for the film because Gru's highlighter-colored henchmen are especially popular outside of the U.S. International ticket sales accounted for 71% of overall ticket sales for the first "Minions" movie. Meanwhile, the follow-up film has amassed $93.7 million overseas, bringing its global tally to $202.2 million so far.
Overall, Fourth of July ticket sales show sign that moviegoing is slowly rebounding from COVID-19. This week's ticket sales are expected to fall between $190 million and $200 million from Friday and Sunday and look to hit $250 million by Monday. Historically, the holiday can bring in between $150 million and $200 million at the box office, according to Comscore.
With the boost in attendance, domestic revenue in June 2022 surpassed $985 million, according to Comscore, marking the biggest box office month of the pandemic. It's a huge jump from summer 2021, in which the month of June brought back $409 million. However, it still falls shortly behind pre-pandemic times, when June revenues regularly surpassed $1 billion.
Back to this week's rankings, "Top Gun: Maverick" holds onto its second place after almost tying "Elvis" for No. 1 last week. The Tom Cruise-starrer added an estimated $25.5 million on its sixth weekend.
Meanwhile, the Baz Luhrman-directed Elvis Presley biopic is bumped first to third with approximately $19 million, dropping 39.1% from its first week. The musical drama has earned $67.3 million domestically and $46.2 million from international ticket sales, bringing its worldwide gross to $113.5 million so far.
At the fourth place is "Jurassic World: Dominion", which drops another spot with an estimated $15.6 million. "The Black Phone", a supernatural horror film by "Doctor Strange" director Scott Derrickson, added approximately $12.3 million on its second weekend.
Top 10 of North America Box Office (Jul. 01-03, 2022):