Why ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ Can Succeed at the Box Office Where ‘Lightyear’ Failed

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The “Despicable Me” prequel will reveal whether Pixar’s flop is indicative of larger struggles for animated family films

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Universal/Illumination hopes that “Minions: The Rise of Gru” will keep June’s box office hot streak rolling into July. Whatever the outcome, the film’s performance will also tell studios and theaters whether the recent struggles of Disney’Pixar’s “Lightyear” are indicative of larger problems for animated family films.

The fifth film in the “Despicable Me” series, which is also a prequel to the original 2010 film, is projected for an opening in the $70 million range. That’s roughly what “Lightyear” had targeted ahead of its opening weekend two weeks ago before sinking to a disappointing $50.5 million launch.

There were plenty of reasons unique to “Lightyear” that might explain why the “Toy Story” spinoff failed to find the audience one would expect.