Weekend Preview: DESPICABLE ME 4 Poised to Unseat INSIDE OUT 2 at July 4 Box Office

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

This weekend Despicable Me 4 seems primed to take the top spot as another animated sequel jockeys for dominance in the summer contest. With the Illumination fourquel opening early on Wednesday July 3, how does this upcoming long weekend look when compared to the previous three years of Independence Day frames?

July 4 Weekend 2021
3-Day (July 2-4) Total Gross: $69M
4-Day (July 2-4) Total Gross: $87.1M

  • The first post-pandemic July 4 weekend found little traction on a market with a limited share of moviegoers. The second weekend of F9: The Fast Saga topped the long weekend with a $23M 3-day take and a $29.1M 4-day haul. This was ahead of the debuts of The Boss Baby 2: Family Business and The Forever Purge, while A Quiet Place Part II held #4 in its 6th weekend.

July 4 Weekend 2022
3-Day (July 1-4) Total Gross: $189.9M
4-Day (July 1-4) Total Gross: $223.5M

  • 2022 saw a substantive improvement, bouncing back in a big way with Minions: The Rise of Gru opening to $107M 3-day / $123M 4-day as holdovers Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis rounded out the Top 3.

July 4 Weekend 2023
3-Day (June 30 – July 2) Total Gross: $128.2M
5-Day (June 30 – July 5) Total Gross: $196.3M

  • July 4 weekend in 2023 was marked by the opening weekend disappointment of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, topping the frame with a $60.3M 3-day / $83.8M 5-day launch. The result came in significantly below Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s $100.1M 3-Day Memorial Day launch 15 years prior.

The good news is the total box office looks to well exceed last year, even with only this week’s Top 3 considered. But how will Despicable Me 4‘s performance be perceived both within its own franchise and in the shadow of the juggernaut that is Inside Out 2? We also have two openers which we don’t expect to crack the Top 3: Ti West’s X/Pearl horror trilogy capper Maxxxine ($6 – $10M 3-Day Opening Weekend Forecast Range) and Angel Studios’ faith-based adoption drama Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot ($4 – $8M 3-Day Opening Weekend Forecast Range), both aiming for different audiences.

The Boxoffice Podium

Forecasting the Top 3 Movies at the Domestic Box Office | July 5 – 7, 2024

Week 27 | July 3 – 7, 2024
Top 10 3-Day Range | Weekend 27, 2024: $140M — $190M

1. Despicable Me 4
Universal/Illumination | NEW
Opening Weekend Range: $70 – $85M (3-Day) | $115 – $135M (5-Day)
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 36%

Pros

  • Universal’s animated hit factory Illumination had their biggest success ever last year with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which raked in $574.9M domestic/$1.36 billion worldwide to become the #2 all-time highest grossing animated movie domestically (under Incredibles 2) and WW (under Frozen 2). They also released their second lowest-grossing film (above Hop) with Migration, which still managed to wrangle $127.3M domestic/$297.5M WW. One was based on an iconic media property transcending generations, and the other was Migration.

While Pixar rebounded in a big way this year with Inside Out 2 after years of struggle, Illumination is known for building dependable original brands like Sing, Secret Life of Pets, Dr. Seuss films, and Despicable Me/Minions. The latter is arguably the studio’s crown jewel, with the five previous films grossing over $4.6 billion globally over the past 14 years. All five films in the series have had July openings, and three of them opened to big July 4 weekend business specifically:

  • Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) – $107M 3-Day / $123M 4-Day
  • Despicable Me 2 (2013) – $83.5M 3-Day / $143M 5-Day
  • Despicable Me 3 (2017) – $72.4M 3-Day / $99M 5-Day

Our forecasting panel has presented a range that takes into account both underperformance and overindexing possibilities for Despicable Me 4. The median range for the full 5-day opening weekend is $125 million. The scorching weather predicted (for the East Coast in particular) could also mean more business for AC-equipped theaters and a bump in those Despicable numbers.

The film’s run is already underway overseas with a $25.4M from 20 territories. Top markets currently include Australia ($9.6M, Week 2), Argentina ($5.3M, Week 2), Chile ($2.3M, Week 1), Colombia ($1.5M, Week 1), and New Zealand ($1.4M, Week 2). It will expand to Spain, Mexico, and Brazil by this weekend with additional key markets scheduled through July and August.

Cons

  • This will be the sixth film in the Despicable Me universe, with the last one having bowed only two years ago. So if the film doesn’t perform at least on par with the last one, it might signal fatigue for the brand… even if the film is a bonafide hit. This is a curse of the “constant growth” needs of modern studios, even though having many successful family products (The Garfield Movie, Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4) is proving a huge boon to exhibitors. The current Rotten Tomatoes critical rating of 63% is not the greatest, though previous low-rated entries (Minions at 56%, Despicable Me 3 at 58%) were all bulletproof kiddy fare.

2. Inside Out 2
Disney/Pixar | Week 4
Weekend Range: $27 – $35M (3-Day)
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 14%

Pros

  • Having already passed the billion-dollar milestone worldwide with $1,014B ($469.4M domestic), Inside Out 2 seems poised to cross the $500 million Rubicon as it chases Incredibles 2 ($608.5M domestic/$1.24B WW) to become the #1 Pixar movie of all-time domestically and WW. It will easily surpass Finding Dory ($486.2M domestic/$1.025B WW) before Friday.

Cons

There’s no question that Gru and his Minions are going to put a dent in the fender of Inside Out 2, so the real race is for #2 between the Pixar smash and A Quiet Place: Day One. There’s also the internal pressure of how it’s holding compared to other recent Pixar hits. Here’s a third frame comparison chart… and no, you’re not seeing things, they really were all virtually identical:

  • Inside Out 2 – $57,520,208 million (-43% drop)
  • Incredibles 2 – $46,417,761 million (-42% drop)
  • Finding Dory – $41,817,176 million (-43% drop)
  • Toy Story 4 – $33,860,355 (-43% drop)
  • Inside Out – $29,771,224 million (-43% drop)

3. A Quiet Place: Day One
Paramount | Week 2
Weekend Range: $23 – $33M (3-Day)
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 13%

Pros

Paramount’s sci-fi horror prequel A Quiet Place: Day One was a peak for the trilogy, although the series-best opening was on-par for the series as a whole…

  • A Quiet Place: Day One (2024) – $53M Opening (3,708 screens)
  • A Quiet Place (2018) – $50M Opening (3,508 screens)
  • A Quiet Place Part II (2021) – $47.5M Opening (3,726 screens)

The success of alien invasion movies over Independence Day weekend (Transformers franchise, Men in Black franchise, War of the Worlds, Independence Day) suggests the sub-genre itself offers a form of cathartic appeal in the United States specifically. As the sole non-animated title on the market appealing to a mass audience, the film could connect with young adult audiences feeling aged out of the weekend’s Illumination and Pixar offerings.

Cons

The audience score on RT currently sits at 73%, indicating some measure of audience disappointment from more than a quarter of those voicing their opinion. That word-of-mouth slump could translate to steep tumble for this title in its second frame, possibly 60% or more. How did the previous two do in their second frame?

  • A Quiet Place – $32,970,049 million (-34% drop)
  • A Quiet Place Part II – $19,266,977 million (-59% drop)
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
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