‘Minions’ Tracking for $85 Million Opening at Box Office

Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s “Despicable Me” prequel looks very strong ahead of July 10 rollout

The funny little yellow guys of Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions” are looking at a lot of green — around $85 million to be specific — when they open at the box office on July 10.

The first tracking for the fifth fully-animated feature from Universal and Illumination arrived Thursday and confirmed what most analysts had thought: “Minions” will be a monster, and likely bigger than its predecessors. And it’s very possible that the projection will rise over the next few weeks as the effects of Universal’s marketing campaign kick in.

The PG-rated film is set up well, and will open against the Focus Features thriller “Self/Less” and the New Line horror film “The Gallows.” And Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which opens Friday, will have been in theaters for a month at that point.

“Despicable Me 2,” the most recent film in the franchise from which “Minions” is spun, took in $970 million at the worldwide box office in 2013. It did $368 million domestically after opening to $83.5 million in July.

“Despicable Me” debuted with $56.3 million in July 2010 and went on to take in $252 million domestically and $543 million globally, setting up the sequel and the spinoff, which gives the little yellow guys their own movie. “Despicable Me 3” is set for June of 2017.

Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton and Steve Coogan provide the voices in the film. Pierre Coffin, who co-directed the “Despicable Me” movies with Chris Renaud, is on board for “Minions,” teaming this time with Kyle Balda.It is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, with  Renaud an execctive producer. Brian Lynch wrote the screenplay for the 3D-CG comedy adventure.

“Minions” opened this week in its first two foreign markets. It debuted at No. 1 in Indonesia and in second place in Australia, behind Universal’s “Jurassic World,” for a $987,716 total.

“Minions” was originally scheduled to roll out in December of last year, but Universal shifted it to this summer to play to a potentially larger audience with kids out of school and to allow more time to coordinate merchandising efforts.

The products push appears to be clicking too. The Minions now appear on everything from a blimp to banana-scented fart blasters.

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