Even though they were not released at the same time, Illumination Entertainment’s latest animated feature film, Minions: The Rise of Gru, recorded an opening weekend box office performance that was nearly double that of Disney/Pixar’s summer film, Lightyear, and gave the Mouse House a once-in-a-blue-moon box office defeat.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“Minions: The Rise of Gru scored a huge four-day opening of $125.2 million domestically, according to Monday estimates. That includes $107 million for the three days, although grosses could shift in either direction when weekend actuals are tallied on Tuesday. Sunday numbers had shown Gru coming in around $129 million in a reminder that estimates fluctuate throughout the weekend.”
This weekend saw international box office numbers breaking $86 million, putting the total long-weekend revenue well above $220 million.
Meanwhile, Pixar Animation Studios’ sci-fi spinoff of its beloved Toy Story character, Buzz Lightyear, could only generate $51 million in its opening weekend. Opening Father’s Day weekend, Lightyear did not cross the $100 million mark until this Friday, July 1.
Minions also maintained an overwhelmingly positive image among moviegoers, taking social media by storm, and delivering an aggressive last-minute advertising campaign from the Illumination/Universal Studios partnership that was undoubtedly inspired by its competition’s lackluster performance.
Unlike Minions, Lightyear faced extraordinary backlash due to a variety of reasons, including Disney’s insistence on including an overt LGBTQ+ scene that resulted in domestic boycotts as well as complete bans and high ratings in nearly 15 foreign nations.
Featuring a star-studded cast that included Steve Carrell, Julie Andrews, Danny Trejo, Russel Brand, and Michelle Yeoh, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the fifth installment of Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me franchise and tells the story of when the adorable yellow henchmen first met a young Gru growing up in 1970s’ suburbia.
Perhaps the movie makers in Burbank should take note that money talks and showed that slapstick, irreverent family comedy still outperforms the serious “boundary-pushing” epics targeting an arguably niche audience.
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