Along with becoming the first animated film in nearly three years to post a $100 million-plus opening, Universal/Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is keeping its momentum going into the Fourth of July with an estimated four-day $125 million opening, the highest ever for a weekend falling on or around the American holiday.
The previous record for the July 4 weekend was set back in 2011 by “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” with $115.9 million.
Despite a two-year delay forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minions and the “Despicable Me” franchise they came from have not faded in popularity, drawing both families and general audiences in equal parts. The film in particular got a strong turnout from teens, who Universal reports accounted for roughly a third of the weekend’s audience. Strong TikTok marketing from Universal and a subsequent #Gentleminions meme that encouraged teens to see the film in suits and ties, contributed to this turnout.
By blasting past its pre-weekend $70 million-plus projections, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is set to give theaters back-to-back $100 million-plus openings as “Thor: Love & Thunder” is expected to open to more than $175 million next weekend. Depending on how strong the second half of the month turns out, July could be the first $1 billion month for the domestic box office since December 2019, as industry estimates have the extended July 4 weekend yielding $230-250 million overall.
That high number comes not only from “Minions 2” but also from the strong holdovers in the top 5. Paramount/Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” has earned an extended weekend total of $33 million, putting it in position to pass $575 million domestic on Tuesday as it reaches $1.15 billion worldwide.
Warner Bros.’ “Elvis” is also holding well among moviegoers over 50 with a $23.5 million 4-day total. The $85 million music biopic still has some work to do to reach profitability but is on its way with $71.8 million grossed after two weekends.
Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” is in fourth with $19.7 million, giving it a total of $335 million domestic after four weekends, while Universal/Blumhouse’s “The Black Phone” completes the top 5 with $14.4 million and $49.6 million after two weekends.