Weekend Box Office: Minions: The Rise of Gru Earns Best Animated Opening of Pandemic Era

Photo Credits: Universal & Illumination ("Minions: The Rise of Gru")

Yellow = green

Universal / Illumination’s animated sequel Minions: The Rise of Gru proved that kids and families just never tire of those gibberish-speaking yellow creatures. The fifth in the Despicable Me franchise debuted with a projected $108.5M three-day opening and $195.7M globally.

Domestically, that’s:

  • +49% above 2017’s Despicable Me 3 ($72.4M)
  • +28% above 2013’s Despicable Me 2 ($84.2M)
  • +50% above the last major animated sequel, April’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($72.1M)
  • 2.1x June’s animated spinoff, Pixar’s Lightyear ($50.5M)

However, it’s also:

  • -6% below 2015’s Minions ($115.7M)
  • -10% below 2019’s Toy Story 4 ($120.9M)
  • -16% below 2019’s Frozen II ($130.2M)

Overall, it ranks as the #56 opening weekend of all time, between 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($108.9M) and 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ($108.4M).

It also ranks as the #3 Independence Day weekend of all time, behind only 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6M) and 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117.0M). 

Plus it ranks as the #9 animated opening weekend of all time, behind:

  1. 2019’s The Lion King ($191.7M)
  2. 2018’s Incredibles 2 ($182.6M)
  3. 2016’s Finding Dory ($135.0M)
  4. 2019’s Frozen II ($130.2M)
  5. 2007’s Shrek the Third ($121.6M)
  6. 2019’s Toy Story 4 ($120.9M)
  7. 2015’s Minions ($115.7M)
  8. 2010’s Toy Story 3 ($110.3M)

The estimated audience was 12% under age 10, 25% under age 13, and an exactly 50-50 male/female split. 

‘Minions’ overseas

Overseas, the film debuted in 60 markets with $87.2M, ranking as the top title both overseas and globally. In 52 of those markets, it ranked as the largest animated opening of the pandemic era, as it did domestically.

Through Sunday, it’s now earned $202.2M globally. Top market totals include:

  • U.K. ($12.9M)
    • Largest animated opening weekend of the pandemic
  • Mexico ($12.3M)
    • Universal’s third-biggest animated opening ever
  • Australia ($12.1M after opening there last weekend)
  • Germany ($4.7M)
    • Largest animated opening weekend of the pandemic
  • Spain ($3.6M)
    • Largest animated opening weekend of the pandemic
  • Indonesia ($3.4M)
  • Argentina ($3.3M)
  • Brazil ($3.1M)
  • Poland ($2.4M)
  • Netherlands ($2.0M)

Finally, you put my love on ‘top’

Will Paramount’s action-adventure sequel Top Gun: Maverick ever leave the top tier of the box office? To quote Tom Cruise’s character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell: “Maybe so, sir… but not today.”

Against all odds, it still remains in the top two, coming in second place with a -14% decline to $25.5M.

It’s now earned the:

  • #40 opening weekend of all time ($126.7M)
  • #8 second weekend of all time ($90.0M)
  • #10 third weekend of all time ($51.8M)
  • #3 fourth weekend of all time ($44.6M), behind only American Sniper and Avatar
  • #4 fifth weekend of all time ($29.6M), behind only American Sniper, Avatar, and Titanic
  • #4 sixth weekend of all time ($25.5M), behind only Avatar, American Sniper, and Frozen.

Mach 9 (digits)

Maverick is the highest-grossing film of 2022 so far, despite only claiming the fourth-largest domestic opening weekend:

  • Despite Maverick posting an opening -32% behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Multiverse, it overtook Multiverse on their respective 10th days of release (their second Sundays).

  • Ditto for The Batman. Maverick opened -5% behind it, but overtook it on their respective fourth days of release (their first Mondays).

  • And same for Jurassic World: Dominion. Maverick opened -12% behind it, but exactly like versus The Batman, overtook it on their respective fourth days of release (their first Mondays).

Maverick has earned $564.0M domestic, $544.5M overseas, and $1.10B globally. That’s the biggest global total of 2022 so far, including Chinese films.

It also means 50.8% of its global earnings have come domestically, a rare feat in this day and age for a film at this level, helped because the film has not been released in China.

Top markets include:

  • U.K. ($84.8M)

  • Japan ($57.6M)

  • Australia ($51.5M)

  • France ($42.0M)

  • Germany ($25.6M)

  • Brazil ($19.3M)

  • Taiwan ($18.8M)

  • South Korea ($27.5M)

  • Mexico ($13.6M)

  • Saudi Arabia ($14.8M)

  • Italy ($11.4M)

  • Hong Kong ($12.0M)

Paramount Reaches $1B

Thanks in large part to Maverick, Paramount this weekend becomes the first billion-dollar distributor of 2022, with $1.002B domestically through Sunday. 

For context, only one distributor reached that mark in 2021: Sony Pictures with $1.05B – and even they only did so only on December 28, just under the buzzer, thanks to the success of mid-December’s Spider-Man: MNo Way Home.

(Disney also came close with $921.2M. Note: that number counts Disney subsidiary 20th Century Studios as a separate distributor.)

Can’t help falling (at the box office)

Warner Bros.’ Elvis Presley biopic Elvis debuted on top last weekend with $31.2M, on the lower end of pre-release projections though still first place. In its sophomore frame it wasn’t exactly a heartbreak hotel, falling a relatively decent -39% to $19.0M and third place.

Compared to other music biopics, that’s equal to 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody about Freddie Mercury + Queen (-39%) and milder than 2019’s Rocketman about Elton John (-46%) and 2021’s Respect about Aretha Franklin (-57%).

It’s also a milder drop than for 2019’s Yesterday about the Beatles (-41%), 2021’s fellow ‘50s-set musical West Side Story (-65%), and director Baz Luhrmann’s previous theatrical release, 2013’s The Great Gatsby (-52%).

However, it’s a steeper drop than 2004’s Ray about Ray Charles (-32%) and 2005’s Walk the Line about Johnny Cash (-14%).

Overseas, it’s the same story, falling an impressively mild -28% in hold overmarkets. The film has now earned $46.2M overseas, for $113.5M globally. Top markets include:

  • U.K. ($12.4M)
    • -27% decline
  • Australia ($11.3M)
    • -13% decline
  • France ($3.7M)
    • -42% decline
  • Germany ($2.2M)
  • Italy ($1.7M)
  • Holland ($1.7M)
  • Spain ($1.7M)
  • New Zealand ($1.3M)
  • Japan ($1.1M)

Dinosaurs and more

Two frames ago, Universal’s sci-fi thriller sequel Jurassic World: Dominion debuted behind both of its predecessors: -30% behind 2015’s Jurassic World ($208.8M) and -2% behind 2018’s’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($148.0M).

On the weakness of its reception, the title fell a fairly steep -59% in its second frame, a sharper drop than Jurassic World (-49%) and equal to Fallen Kingdom (also -59%).

Then in its third frame, its -55% drop was once again steeper than either of its predecessors: Jurassic World (again -49%) or Fallen Kingdom (-53%).

Now, in its fourth frame, the trend reverses for once. Dominion fell -41% to $15.6M and fourth place, which is actually milder than the fourth-weekend declines for Jurassic World (-46%) and Fallen Kingdom (-43%).

For context, it earned the:

  • #29 opening weekend of all time

  • #39 second weekend of all time

  • #81 third weekend of all time

  • In its fourth weekend, it now drops out of the top 100

It’s now earned $331.8M domestically. Through the same point in release, that’s -8% behind Fallen Kingdom ($363.9M) and -40% behind Jurassic World ($556.5M). 

Dominion has also earned $492.7 overseas for a $824.5 global haul. Top markets include:

  • China ($129.2M)

  • Mexico ($41.5M)

  • U.K. ($37.2M)

  • France ($22.0M)

  • Australia ($21.8M)

  • Germany ($18.4M)

  • Spain ($14.6M)

“It’s for you”

Universal and Blumhouse’s horror title The Black Phone opened to $23.6M in fourth place. In its sophomore frame, it falls -48% to $12.3M and fifth place. That’s milder than almost every other pandemic-era horror title:

  • Firestarter (-48%)
  • Don’t Breathe 2 (-52%)
  • Candyman (-53%)
  • The Forever Purge (-53%)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (-57%)
  • A Quiet Place Part II (-59%)
  • Old (-59%)
  • Scream (-59%)
  • Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (-60%)
  • Halloween Kills (-71%)

However, it did fall slightly more than last May’s horror release Spiral (-47%).

It also dropped less than director Scott Derrickson’s other horror releases:

  • 2014’s Deliver Us from Evil (-51%)
  • 2012’s Sinister (-51%)
  • 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose (-51%; yes, they all dropped exactly -51%)

‘All’ in the family

A24’s sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once has now earned $67.1M, extending its lead as the biggest film in the history of indie distributor A24. That’s ahead of A24’s:

  • 2019’s Uncut Gems ($50.0M)
  • 2017’s Lady Bird ($48.9M)
  • 2018’s Hereditary ($44.0M)

This also marks its 14th weekend in the box office top 10, coming in eighth this weekend with $551K, despite only attaining a top rank of #4 on any given frame.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $190.6M, which is:

  • +41% above last weekend’s total ($134.5M), when Elvis led with $31.2M.
  • +93% above the equivalent weekend in 2021 ($98.7M), when F9 led with $70.0M.
  • -25% above the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($151.8M), when Toy Story 4 led for a second frame with $59.7M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $3.89B. That’s:

  • 3.56x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($1.09B), down from 3.74x after last weekend.
  • -31.7% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($5.70B), up from -33.5% last weekend. This marks the highest YTD standing versus 2019 attained so far this year.

Top distributors

Paramount still leads by a considerable margin:

  1. Paramount ($1.002B)
  2. Universal ($748.2M)
  3. Warner Bros. ($543.6M)
  4. Disney ($522.5M)
  5. Sony Pictures ($487.8M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Minions: The Rise of Gru $108,510,000   4,391   $24,712 $108,510,000 1 Universal
Top Gun: Maverick $25,540,000 -14% 3,843 -105 $6,646 $564,015,367 6 Paramount
Elvis $19,000,000 -39% 3,932 26 $4,832 $67,320,011 2 Warner Bros.
Jurassic World: Dominion $15,650,000 -41% 3,801 -432 $4,117 $331,814,935 4 Universal
The Black Phone $12,300,000 -48% 3,156 6 $3,897 $47,464,325 2 Universal
Lightyear $6,574,000 -64% 3,800 -455 $1,730 $105,362,663 3 Walt Disney
Mr. Malcolm’s List $851,853   1,384   $616 $851,853 1 Bleecker Street
Everything Everywhere All At Once $551,974 5% 607 83 $909 $67,015,157 15 A24
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness $390,000 -78% 590 -1,265 $661 $410,541,349 9 Walt Disney
Jugjugg Jeeyo $320,000 -47% 150 -168 $2,133 $1,540,000 2 Moviegoers Entertainment
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On $258,438 62% 22 16 $11,747 $481,450 2 A24
The Bob’s Burgers Movie $205,000 -59% 275 -315 $745 $31,517,167 6 20th Century Studios
The Bad Guys $168,000 -63% 535 -498 $314 $96,023,335 11 Universal
Downton Abbey: A New Era $164,000 -58% 269 -476 $610 $43,748,035 7 Focus Features
Official Competition $145,000 173% 173 147 $838 $268,684 3 IFC Films
Mad God $20,000 -18% 40 13 $500 $153,069 4 Shudder
Lost Illusions $12,184 26% 13 1 $937 $78,461 4 Music Box Films
Facing Nolan $10,430 -73% 25 -45 $417 $386,294 2 Utopia
Watcher $4,000 -82% 12 -44 $333 $1,951,184 5 IFC Midnight
Photo Credits: Universal & Illumination ("Minions: The Rise of Gru")