Lightyear Owned: ‘Minions: Rise of Gru’ Proves Families Want Non-Woke Fun


Illumination and Universal’s July 4th event movie Minions: The Rise of Gru began landing in select North American theaters Thursday afternoon, grossing an excellent $10.8 million in previews from 3,350 locations. According to THR, the animated tentpole is set for a huge four-day opening of $129.2 million domestically, according to early estimates. That includes $109.5 million for the three days. (Some rivals think it has a shot at approaching $140 million by the end of Monday.)


Overseas, the movie will cross $86 million by Sunday for a global booty of $200 million-plus. Forget about breaking pandemic-era records for a family title; the Illumination and Universal movie will boast one of the top starts ever at the domestic box office for an animated Hollywood tentpole, not adjusted for inflation.


Friday’s haul alone was around $48 million from 4,400 theaters, including a hefty $10.8 million in previews.



Until now, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a live-action/CGI hybrid, held the record for the biggest opening of the pandemic era for a PG family release with $72 million.


The Rise of Gru’s performance is significant in that it confirms that parents and younger kids are ready to return to the multiplex in droves. Throughout the pandemic, animated films have been considered a challenged genre. It didn’t help when Pixar and Disney’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear opened to a tepid $51 million last month before falling off steeply in its sophomore outing.


The Pixar film likely bombed due to several factors, most notably the woke elements of centering the story on the plight of a lesbian couple and their child, and casting Chris Evans rather than Tim Allen in the lead role. While those points could be argued, the massive success of Minions: The Rise of Gru destroys any notion that Lightyear failed because parents and younger kids didn’t want to go to the cinemas. 



Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Former captain of this ship o' fools secretly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'