Tiny yellow henchmen is sparking fireworks at the box office over the July 4 weekend.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the fifth installment in Universal and Illumination’s popular “Despicable Me” franchise, is headed for a first-place finish, with the family film expected to bring in $65 million to $75 million from 4,400 North American theaters during the extended holiday period. Though it’s the only new nationwide release, “Minions” will have to fend off holdover titles including Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and Pixar’s “Lightyear.”
The well-reviewed “Minions: The Rise of Gru” looks to test the viability of kid-friendly animated flicks on the big screen. Family audiences are huge drivers in box office revenues and therefore key to the movie theater industry’s revival. But as the box office has attempted to rebound from COVID-19, movies that cater to younger crowds have been a mixed bag in terms of ticket sales. Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” beat forecasts in April, debuting to $72 million over President’s Day weekend, but Disney’s less-embraced “Lightyear” fell short of expectations, launching with $51 million. These days, it can be tricky to predict the movies that’ll entice parents and their kids.
Rise of Gru is the fifth film in the Despicable Me/Minions franchise, following three Despicable Me’s and the first prequel Minions. The new installment tells us how Gru went from a young boy with evil ambitions to the supervillain fans know and love. In addition to Gru and the anarchic energy ball Minions, the film introduces the supervillain collective the Vicious 6. The star-studded voice cast includes series vets Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Steve Coogan, and Will Arnett along with new-to-the-Minion-verse Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, and Alan Arkin. At 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews for the film put it in the middle of the pack for the series.