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.
By Friday, the family animated pic will be playing in approximately 4,400 theaters in the US and Canada. The movie — which saw its release delayed by more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic — will test the strength of the family box office just weeks after Pixar and Disney’s lightyear failed to soar into the stratosphere.
The Rise of Gru is a sequel to 2015’s minions and is the fifth entry in the despicable Me franchise, which is the top-grossing animated series in history, not adjusted for inflation.
Tracking suggests that Minions 2 will open in the $70 million to $80 million range for the four-day holiday, but the strength of previews means it could well come in higher. It is also making a major push overseas.
The pic scored the biggest preview number of the pandemic era for an animated film or a live-action/CGI hybrid such as Sonic the hedgehog 2which earned $6.3 million in previews on its way to a strong domestic debut of $72.1 million in April of this year.
the first minions opened to $115 million domestically over the July 10-12 weekend in 2015 after grossing $6.2 million in previews.
Steve Carell returns to voice the role of Gru. The star-packed voice cast also features Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Taraji P. Henson, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, RZA, Danny Trejo and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The origin story reveals how the supervillain Gru and the Minions met when Gru was a young boy in the 1970s growing up in the suburbs.