By Matthew Moorcroft
While it’s been rough for animated films recently, Minions: The Rise of Gru ended up overperforming in it’s opening weekend and letting animation have a much needed win. Let’s break it down.
1 – Minions: The Rise of Gru ($108 million)
Initially predicted for $60-80 million in it’s opening weekend, Minions‘ lowball estimate likely came from studio insiders worried about animation’s current struggles at the box office. But I guess their fears were completely unjustified, as Minions: The Rise of Gru opened to a franchise high of $128 million over the 4-day weekend, making it the highest Fourth of July opener of all time, beating out the previous champion Transformers: Dark of the Moon at $111 million. Over the three day, it’s opening of $108 million isn’t as high as the original Minions but it will likely surpass that film’s gross overall due to better holds.
This is a much needed win for animation, as none of the animated films during the pandemic have made much of a splash outside of streaming. Encanto and Turning Red were huge hits on Disney+, sure, but as the box office shows it seems that audiences were waiting for the right film to go back to. And while Minions had a massive meme movement on Twitter and TikTok that likely contributed some tickets, the more likely scenario is that the series is still popular with kids and parents, who made up the majority of the tickets sold.
Combine that with an A on Cinemascore, and you have a recipe for an instant hit. The film should play well into the coming weeks as great counterprogramming against Thor: Love and Thunder, which will also likely appeal to all demographics and is currently tracking for a massive opening, and the film has also fully put a stop into Lightyear‘s already abysmal legs. Universal will likely be saying “banana” for the next decade once again.
2 – Top Gun: Maverick ($25.5 million)
Dropping a measly 14% this past weekend, Maverick ended up using it’s celebration of America as a boost this Fourth of July and made $25.5 million in it’s sixth weekend of release. These are absolutely insane numbers to be making this far into release, having made $564 million domestically alone and $1.108 billion worldwide, and word of mouth continues to absolutely bonkers good on the film which is helping contribute to it’s high grosses.
Could we see a massive drop off next weekend? Possibly, but unlikely. While Thor: Love and Thunder is undoubtedly going to do well, Top Gun is likely going to stay with the momentum for another couple of weeks, at least until Nope comes out and finally steals the adult audience away from them. That being said, this was an unusaul weekend as Top Gun was also likely benefiting from Independence Day numbers, and while those numbers aren’t in yet they will likely be larger then usual.
Paramount’s release strategy for this has been monumental, to say the least, and will likely keep them in the game at least until they can put all eyes next year as they aim bigger. After all, if they can get Top Gun to a billion, can they get Mission: Impossible to a billion?
3 – Elvis ($19 million)
After reaching number one last weekend, Elvis drops a respectable 31% in it’s second weekend and adds on another $19 million to it’s domestic total. That total currently stands at $67.3 million, which is getting close to it’s budget of $85 million, albeit with still some to go. That being said, these are pretty great numbers for an adult-centric film like this, particularly one released in the middle of several blockbusters.
Worldwide the film has reached past $100 million, hitting $113.5 million and ensuring a safety net in case the film doesn’t reach $100 million domestically. That being said, it likely will hit it as the film’s strong word of mouth has really propelled this thing, and mid-seasonal awards giving it a ton of love is only sure to boost up it’s reputation and profile.
Can it keep this momentum going into the later weeks? It’s next big competition is unknown, as it’s working as counterprogramming for the older audience and much of it’s really older crowd won’t be flocking to the cinemas for much of the other films they have in store throughout the summer. This could give Elvis the boost it needs to stay in the conversation going into awards season.
4 – Jurassic World Dominion ($15.7 million)
Dropping 42% in it’s fourth weekend, Jurassic World Dominion continues to perform nearly identically to Fallen Kingdom on the weekends, even if it’s dailies during the week continue to slip behind it. Making $15.7 million, the film’s domestic total now stands at $331.8 million, and will likely struggle to get to $400 million at this rate. This would place it as the lowest grossing Jurassic installment of the new trilogy, both domestically and worldwide.
Speaking of worldwide, the film passed $800 million worldwide, and is now sitting at a total of $824.5 million. The film’s target of $1 billion seems to get further and further out of reach every day, and while it’s still possible to reach it there is a strong possibility that it doesn’t get there. Still though, it’s a good number and the film could end up pulling Doctor Strange levels of numbers which would put it squarely in success territory.
This is all just white noise to Universal though, who is likely seeing green after Minions and this have done exceptional business back-to-back. One of the last studios not relying on superhero box office power to fund their projects, Universal has instead found their own niches and capitalized on them tremendously.
5 – The Black Phone ($12.3 million)
Speaking of Universal, The Black Phone continues to show Universal’s other secret weapon of low budget horror. Making another $12.3 million to add onto it’s total, The Black Phone now sits at $47.5 million domestically and $74.4 million worldwide. On it’s way to $100 million worldwide at this point, it’s one of the biggest horror successes of the pandemic and will likely make a ton of money going forward not just in theaters but on streaming and home video.
Which isn’t surprising in the slightest. Blumhouse’s low budget horror efforts have consistently done extremely well, and Universal is just laughing on their way to the bank as a Black Phone sequel is likely being greenlit as we speak. Scott Derrickson also had the last laugh, having left Doctor Strange to make this film and it seems to have paid off for him in spades.
Universal is also about to have a killer summer, with Nope on the way as their next big event film, and while that will likely steal away all of Black Phone‘s audience, this film has already made a profit for the studio so it’s all just green now. Great work across the board for everybody involved on this one.