(UPDATE: Final numbers for Minions: The Rise of Gru came in slightly under estimates, bringing the 4-day projection of $127.9 million down to $125.1 million.)
Minions just went where Lightyear couldn’t: to infinity and beyond.
Shattering box office records for a 4th of July weekend, the Despicable Me prequel Minions: The Rise of Gru hauled in a massive $125.1 million domestically over the 4-day frame. That obliterates the holiday’s previous mark set over a decade ago when Transformers: Dark of the Moon made $115.9M in 2011.
Not only did Rise of Gru demolish records, it also destroyed pre-release projections that had it landing somewhere in the $70-to-$90 million range.
Given that, the most notable takeaway is how that blockbuster tally makes the $51 million opening by Pixar’s Lightyear (just three weeks ago) not only look weak by comparison; it’s legitimately problematic for Disney and their once untouchable animation brand.
But setting aside what could portend a seismic shift in the animation industry, the receipts for Gru prove that families are indeed ready to return to movie theaters – in droves, no less – if the option is right.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 primed the pump this past spring with a bigger-than-expected $72M debut and $190.8M domestic gross (with a total of $401.8M worldwide), but Lightyear’s underwhelming performance seemed to suggest that many parents were still hesitant to ditch the safety, convenience and affordability of streaming for public theaters in our post-COVID age.
Well, Rise of Gru proved that suggestion wrong in the strongest possible terms.
Simply put, families just weren’t that interested in seeing Lightyear, and the spinoff’s so-so word of mouth only cemented families’ “we’ll just wait for Disney Plus” posture.
Meanwhile, the year’s biggest juggernaut still held strong in second place. Now in its sixth weekend, Top Gun: Maverick dipped a measily 14% to bring in another $25.5M through Sunday and an estimated $32.5 through Monday. It’s the top grossing film of 2022 so far, with $544.5M domestic and $1.11 billion worldwide.
Currently, Maverick stands at #12 on the All Time domestic chart. If it crosses the $600M threshold it’ll be only the 12th movie to do so, and if it reaches $620.2M it’ll fly into the Top 10, edging past Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Last week’s #1 Elvis slipped to #3 with $19M for a $67M domestic total so far ($113M worldwide). That’s a strong showing for a non-franchise tentpole led by a newcomer, but word of mouth continues to be strong for Baz Luhrmann’s spectacle, one that is catapulting lead actor Austin Butler to star status.
While not as dominant, Jurassic World Dominion has stayed a consistent draw.. Coming in at #4 during its 4th weekend of release, Dominion took in another $15.6M to bring its domestic totally to $335.3M and $824.5M globally.
Rounding out the Top 5 is the Blumhouse horror-thriller The Black Phone, starring Ethan Hawke and written-and-directed by Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson. It scared up another $12.3M to bring its domestic cume to nearly $50M.
Finally, Pixar’s Lightyear dropped out of the Top 5, settling in at #6 (over a holiday weekend, no less). With just $8.1M over the 4-day frame, this Toy Story spinoff has only now crossed the $100M mark domestically after three weekends ($105.4M in 18 days to be exact, and only $187M globally).
Compare that to Toy Story 3 which made $110M in just three days way back in 2010 and Toy Story 4 which opened to $121M in 2019. Lightyear won’t broach those standards until somewhere between 20 and 30 days if it’s lucky (which, with Thor: Love and Thunder on the horizon looking to gobble up more screen space and ticket sales, it may not be).
By further comparison, Minions: The Rise of Gru – with a launch of $125.1M domestic and $200M worldwide – has already passed Lightyear by significant margins in just four days.