NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Estimates: ‘Minions’ Captures Second Largest Animated Opening Weekend Ever With $115.2M; ‘Jurassic World’ ($18.1M) Edges Out ‘Inside Out’ ($17.1M) For Second; ‘The Gallows’ Modest With $10.0M; ‘Self/Less’ Stumbles With $5.4M

Sunday Update: Minions delivered in a very big way this weekend with an estimated debut of $115.2 million. The highly anticipated 3D computer animated spin-off from Universal and Illumination Entertainment opened on the high end of its very lofty pre-release expectations. Without adjusting for ticket-price inflation, Minionsscored the second largest opening weekend take ever for an animated film; behind only the $121.63 million start of 2007’s Shrek the Third. Minions opened just ahead of the $110.31 million debut of 2010’s Toy Story 3. Minions was an impressive 28 percent stronger than the $90.03 million three-day start of 2013’sDespicable Me 2 (though it should be noted that Despicable Me 2 opened on a Wednesday). Minions was clearly helped out by goodwill from both Despicable Me films and by a very high-profile marketing campaign that was seemingly everywhere. Potential sequel fatigue for the film may have also been turned into a non-factor in this case thanks in part to the film’s nature as a spin-off.

Minions opened with $46.2 million on Friday (which included an estimated $6.2 million from Thursday evening shows that began at 6 p.m.), decreased 16 percent on Saturday to gross $39.0 million and is estimated to decline 23 percent on Sunday to gross $30.0 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.49 to 1, which is a sign of initial front-loading. Mixed critical reviews and the film being the third installment of its franchise will likely lead to the film being significantly more front-loaded than both previous Despicable Me films were. At the same time, Minions did receive a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film is going over better with audiences than it has with critics. Going forward the film should also be helped out by the lack of high-profile animated films on the remainder of this summer’s schedule.

The audience breakdown for Minions skewed towards female moviegoers (59 percent) and towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (55 percent). Family audiences made up 60 percent of the film’s overall audience. Minions marks yet another blockbuster level performer for Universal in 2015, as it joins the likes ofJurassic World, Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Universal also claimed second place this weekend as Jurassic World took in an estimated $18.12 million over the frame. The 3D sci-fi adventure blockbuster sequel was down a very solid 38 percent from last weekend’s performance (which had been deflated a bit by Independence Day falling on Saturday). Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Jurassic World registered the seventh largest fifth weekend performance of all-time. Jurassic World has grossed a massive $590.66 million through 31 days of release, which leaves it just $9.34 million away from becoming the fourth film ever to reach the $600 million domestic milestone.Jurassic World is currently running $37.71 million and 7 percent ahead of the $552.95 million 31-day take of 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers.

Inside Out followed closely behind in third with an estimated $17.11 million. The 3D computer animated blockbuster from Disney and Pixar was down 42.5 percent from last weekend. That represented a solid hold, especially when considering the new direct competition the film faced from Minions this weekend. Inside Outcontinues to outpace expectations with a very strong 24-day take of $283.64 million. That leaves the film just $16.36 million away from reaching the $300 million domestic milestone. Inside Out is running an impressive 19 percent ahead of the $237.77 million 24-day gross of 2013’s Monsters University and 16 percent behind the $339.24 million 24-day take of 2010’s Toy Story 3.

Paramount’s Terminator Genisys placed in fourth with an estimated $13.70 million. The pricey Arnold Schwarzenegger led 3D sci-fi action sequel fell 49 percent from last weekend. Terminator Genisys has grossed $68.72 million in twelve days of release. The film continues to perform below its already scaled back expectations and is running 26 percent behind the $92.66 million twelve-day gross of 2009’s Terminator Salvation. At this rate Terminator Genisys is likely to fall short of reaching the $100 million domestic mark; especially with Disney’s Ant-Man, Sony’s Pixels and fellow Paramount release Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation all entering the marketplace throughout the rest of July.

Warner’s The Gallows opened in fifth place with an estimated $10.02 million. The low-budget horror film from New Line and Blumhouse Productions opened on the lower end of its modest expectations. The Gallows had generated high levels of online activity in the days leading up to its release, but that ultimately didn’t help at the box office this weekend. Potential for the film was likely limited somewhat by its R rating and its poor critical reviews. The Gallows opened nearly on par with the $10.20 million start of The Lazarus Effect earlier this year.

The Gallows started out with $4.53 million on Friday (which included an estimated $900,000 from Thursday evening shows), fell a troubling 31 percent on Saturday to gross $3.13 million and is estimated to decline 25 percent on Sunday to gross $2.36 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of just 2.21 to 1. That isn’t a good early sign going forward and neither is the film’s modest C rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for The Gallows skewed slightly towards female moviegoers (52 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (53 percent).

Fellow Warner Bros. release Magic Mike XXL held up well this weekend with an estimated sixth place take of $9.64 million. That was down just 25 percent from last weekend’s holiday deflated performance. The modestly budgeted Channing Tatum led sequel has displayed strong holding power over the past week, but in the bigger picture the film is still performing significantly below expectations with a twelve-day take of $48.36 million. Magic Mike XXL is currently running a lackluster 38 percent behind the $77.86 million twelve-day gross of 2012’s Magic Mike.

Meanwhile, Focus’ Self/Less debuted in eighth place with an estimated $5.38 million. The Ryan Reynolds led sci-fi film opened to disappointing results and had been widely expected to do so heading into the weekend.Self/Less opened 58 percent below the $33.62 million debut of 2013’s R.I.P.D. Self/Less started out with $1.97 million on Friday, decreased a slim 1 percent on Saturday to gross $1.95 million and is estimated to decline 25 percent on Sunday to take in $1.46 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.73 to 1. Self/Less did receive a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore, but in all likelihood that won’t matter going forward given the film’s soft start this weekend.

Saturday Update: Universal reports this morning that Minions got off to a smashing start with an estimated $46.2 million opening day, including Thursday night’s early shows. That figure makes it the best opening day by an animated movie in domestic box office history, surpassing Toy Story 3‘s $41.15 million first day in June 2010. The spin-off of the hugely popular characters also bested Despicable Me 2‘s $35 million opening day two summers ago, although that sequel bowed on a Wednesday. Early word of mouth from the online crowd isn’t exactly glowing with a 65 percent Flixster score (plus a weak 56 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes), but ultimately the target audience (kids) will be more forgiving to the flick. For the weekend, Universal itself projects a $120.9 million opening weekend, although we’re a bit more cautious given the strong Thursday turnout and mid-July release. BoxOffice projects a $117 million opening, which would rank as the second best ever for an animated title (behind Shrek the Third‘s $121.6 million and ahead of Toy Story 3‘s $110.3 million).

In second place on Friday, Inside Out added another $5.36 million, boosting its total to $271.9 million. The strongly received Pixar flick should rebound well after taking a minor hit from the new animated competition this weekend. BoxOffice projects a $17.7 million fourth frame for the flick.

In third, Jurassic World took in $5.3 million, giving it a new domestic tally of $577.84 million. The mega-blockbuster remains at a 7 percent advantage over where Marvel’s The Avengers stood at the same point in release. Universal’s own projection for the weekend is $18.3 million.

The Gallows debuted in fourth place with $4.51 million, falling 34 percent short of Unfriended‘s opening day back in April and 19 percent ahead of February’s The Lazarus Effect. Early word of mouth is in the cellar with a 36 percent Flixster score and 13 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, further extending this year’s lack of notable horror breakouts. BoxOffice projects a $10.2 million weekend. The film received a “C” CinemaScore.

Filling out the top five, Terminator Genisys posted $4 million on Friday. With a 10-day sum of $59.02 million domestically, the reboot continues to perform at a disappointing level. BoxOffice projects a $13.2 million sophomore weekend.

Meanwhile, Magic Mike XXL earned $3.64 million yesterday. That gives it a 10-day total of $42.36 million. BoxOffice projects a $9.5 million frame.

Last but not least, Self/Less debuted to $1.958 million yesterday. BoxOffice projects a $5.1 million opening weekend. Unfortunately, the film’s 59 percent Flixster score and 21 percent critics’ rating indicate a short lifespan.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Minions will end up between $112 million-$116 million this weekend, which will be enough to top Top Story 3‘s $110 million debut. Shrek the Third is likely to hold on to the animation debut record with its $122.5 million sum.

Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Minions posted an excellent $6.2 million start from Thursday evening shows beginning at 6pm in 2,985 theaters domestically. By comparison, that tops the $4.7 million Tuesday night bow of 2013’s Despicable Me 2 by 32 percent, although the latter film began at 8pm and doesn’t exactly provide an apples-to-apples comparison with its mid-week debut ahead of Independence Day weekend.

Other noteworthy animated sequels exhibited more modest Thursday night debuts, namely How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($2.0 million) and Monsters University ($2.6 million). The Minions/Despicable franchise certainly has a larger fan base than most animated series though, so a bigger turnout ahead of Friday was somewhat expected. The film still looks to be on course for a possible $100 million+ weekend debut.

Meanwhile, The Gallows took in $900,000 from last night’s early shows. Considering the lack of built-in fan appeal, that’s a fair start compared to the recent Insidious Chapter 3‘s $1.55 million Thursday launch last month, while also topping Unfriended‘s $660,000 in mid-April.

Also opening this weekend is Self/Less, although no Thursday numbers have been reported at this time.

Meanwhile, Jurassic World and Inside Out will be contending for second and third places.

More as it comes.