“Minions” are making millions for Universal. The little yellow helpers created by Illumination Entertainment scored $6.2 million at the box office on Thursday night.
The pillow-shaped jibber-jabbers are aiming to top $100 million this weekend, joining “Jurassic World” and “Furious 7” on the list of Universal movies that have opened above the $100 million mark. Previously, the animated family film had been predicted to make $85 million.
The Thursday night box office results for “Minions” are bigger than that for “Despicable Me 2,” which made $4.7 million in 2013.” Minions” also posted the best opening for an animated movie this year, beating Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which grossed $3.7 million its opening night.
If “Minions” meets box office analysts’ $100 million prediction, it will surpass opening weekend grosses of the movies in the “Despicable Me” franchise, by far. The first movie grossed $56.3 million its first weekend, while “Despicable Me 2” raked in $83.5 million.
The yellow sidekicks have already brought in $141 million worldwide since its release in the foreign markets, debuting at No. 1 in Indonesia and in second place in Australia behind Universal’s “Jurassic World.” The production budget was $74 million, which should secure a hefty profit margin for Universal and Illumination.
Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton and Steve Coogan provide the voices in the “Despicable Me” prequel. Pierre Coffin, who co-directed the “Despicable Me” movies with Chris Renaud, teamed with Kyle Balda to direct “Minions,” produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy. Renaud served as executive producer of the movie written by Brian Lynch.
“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.
“Minions” was screened on Thursday in 2,985 theaters starting at 6 p.m. The Thursday night previews and midnight screenings for Warner Bros.’ “The Gallows,” brought in $900,000, while Gramercy’s “Self/Less,” distributed by Focus Features, grossed in $325,000 at 1,600 theaters.