Minions: The Rise of Gru Box Office Prediction

Illumination and Universal Pictures should light up the Fourth of July weekend at the box office with Minions: The Rise of Gru. The sequel to the 2015 spinoff prequel and the fifth overall entry in the Despicable Me franchise, Kyle Balda directs with Steve Carell returning to voice the title character. Other performers in the booth include Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin. How’s that for eclectic? I’m pretty sure this marks the first collaboration between Van Damme and Andrews.

This series has proved to be a financial windfall for its studio. All four previous pics have made over $250 million domestically. Minions took in $115 million out of the gate seven summers back with $336 million overall. Immediate predecessor Despicable Me 3 from 2017, while still a hit, wasn’t as high. It premiered with $72 million and ended up with $264 million.

Three years was previously the longest wait between films. The five year gap is a bit risky as some of its fans are simply older. We’ve also seen a very recent example of an animated disappointment with Pixar’s Lightyear. 

That said, I suspect Gru will rise to the occasion with a four-day holiday haul in the $75-85 million range. I’m starting out on the lower end of that scale, but my estimate could go up in the days ahead.

Minions: The Rise of Gru opening weekend prediction: $78.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

June 24-26 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (06/23): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my Elvis prediction from $42.6M to $35.6M. That still gives it the #1 slot over Top Gun: Maverick… barely.

In what should be an intriguing and potentially unpredictable weekend to close out the June box office, Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic Elvis and critically lauded horror pic The Black Phone debut. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

Elvis Box Office Prediction

The Black Phone Box Office Prediction

There’s plenty of possibilities for how the top 5 will look. While there’s no doubt about which quintet will populate the list, the order is up for grabs. I believe Elvis will open closer to the $51 million of Bohemian Rhapsody than the $25 million of Rocketman. That should be enough to earn it the title of Box Office King.

However, if it does premiere in the mid to late 20s range, the chances of a #1 start are considerably lower. We could legitimately see Top Gun: Maverick rise from 3rd to 1st. With a projected dip in the low to mid 20s, it should at least rise to 2nd place. That’s assuming current two-week champ Jurassic World: Dominion loses more than half its audience in its third go-round and Lightyear also sees a sophomore fall of around 55%. I’m assuming both.

And there’s the wild card that is The Black Phone. Horror titles often outdo expectations and with its aforementioned solid reviews, that could apply here. I’m sticking with a debut of just under $20 million and that would likely mean a fifth place reception.

Here’s how I envision perhaps the most fascinating box office weekend so far in the pandemic era looking:

1. Elvis

Predicted Gross: $35.6 million

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $34.8 million

3. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Gross: $28.3 million

4. Lightyear

Predicted Gross: $23.2 million

5. The Black Phone

Predicted Gross: $18.6 million

Box Office Results (June 17-19)

In a major upset, Jurassic World: Dominion remained #1 for the second frame with $59.1 million. That’s stronger than my $54.8 million estimate as the threequel is up to $250 million in its first ten days. That’s $15 million under where predecessor was at four summers ago.

Jurassic‘s reign was unexpected because Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear was widely anticipated to rule the charts. Instead it grossed $50.5 million for second place. That’s, ahem, $35 million under my projection of $85.5 million and less than half of what Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 made out of the gate. There’s plenty of think pieces out there for why Lightyear was a disappointment. It includes theories about politics, Disney Plus being the same day distributor for recent Pixar material, and the absence of Tim Allen as the voice of the title character. Any way you slice it, it’s a shocker.

Top Gun: Maverick continued its amazing run in third with $44.6 million – dropping a scant 14%. I was lower at $36 million. The biggest hit of the year (and of Tom Cruise’s career by far) is flying at $466 million as its domestic haul will reach $500 million shortly. As mentioned, if Elvis doesn’t reach my projection, it could see a return to the top spot. I wrote more about Maverick‘s unreal performance yesterday on the blog and it’s here:

Top Gun: Maverick – Lightyears Ahead of Expectations

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was fourth with $4.4 million compared to my $3.4 million take. The tally is $405 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie rounded out the top five with $1.1 million. I incorrectly had it outside the high five. It’s made $29 million.

I figured The Bad Guys would be fifth, but it was sixth with $1 million (I said $1.5 million)/ The overall take is $94 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Top Gun: Maverick – Lightyears Ahead of Expectations

I’ve been at this box office predicting game for quite some time. If it gets stale for even a moment, something will come along to shock you. That happened this weekend. Twice.

First there’s the massive underperformance of Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear, which is barely topping $50 million for second place behind Jurassic World: Dominion. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow,  but it’s not often a tentpole release comes in over $30 million behind your (and many other prognosticators) estimates. It made less than half of the fourth Toy Story tale three years ago.

Today, however, it’s all about Top Gun: Maverick. If you’d told me a month ago that the long gestating Tom Cruise sequel would score the second (you read that correctly) best fourth weekend of all time, I wouldn’t have believed it. That’s second only to the fourth frame of Avatar. Better than any Star Wars episode. Better than any MCU adventure. Better than Titanic. 

Maverick, with its soaring reviews and word-of-mouth, has undeniably become a phenomenon. Its $44 million estimated haul this weekend brings its domestic tally to an astonishing $466 million. That’s already $200 million over Cruise’s previous largest stateside hit – 2005’s War of the Worlds. A gross of over $600 million in the US and Canada seems assured in addition to a worldwide total topping $1 billion.

To say this is lightyears ahead of expectations is one heckuva understatement. This is the rare breed of picture that is appealing to all ages and genders and is clearly warranting repeat viewings. I suspect Oscar voters will take notice. Categories like Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects are obviously on the table. So too is Lady Gaga’s theme song “Hold My Hand” which might be an early frontrunner to win. And with these mind boggling earnings – Oscar voters could vault this into Best Picture contention and Tom Cruise could be in the mix for Best Actor. That’s far from guaranteed… yet it was unthinkable before its release.

The word phenomenon doesn’t come around much with box office forecasting. When 2002’s Spider-Man made $114 in its first weekend, that word applied because no pic had done so before. The domination of Titanic when many thought it would be a flop definitely fits the bill. So does James Cameron’s follow-up Avatar (ironically its sequel seems destined to compete with Maverick for some tech Oscars). The MCU juggernaut has a handful of examples.

Top Gun: Maverick is a phenomenon and in its fourth outing, the buzz is towering over everything else in 2022.

The Black Phone Box Office Prediction

After ringing up lots of positive reception last fall at Fantastic Fest, the supernatural horror pic The Black Phone arrives in theaters June 24th. Based on a short story by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), Scott Derrickson directs. His biggest blockbuster is 2016’s Doctor Strange, but he’s a veteran of the genre including helming The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister. His lead from the latter – Ethan Hawke – stars as a serial killer. Costars include Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, and James Ransone.

In September 2021, Phone garnered serious buzz at the Austin fest. While some reviewers nitpicked pacing issues, the Rotten Tomatoes score is 100% with particular praise for its young performers Thames and McGraw. With a reported budget of under $20 million, this should be another profitable venture for Blumhouse. That production company is used to turning a tidy profit for many of their titles.

During the COVID era, frightening tales were generally immune from negative box office effects. I would look for Phone to earn its price tag back during the first weekend.

The Black Phone opening weekend prediction: $18.6 million

For my Elvis prediction, click here:

Elvis Box Office Prediction

Elvis Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (06/23): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my Elvis prediction from $42.6M to $35.6M. That still gives it the #1 slot over Top Gun: Maverick… barely.

Warner Bros is betting that Elvis will get moviegoers all shook up when it hits theaters on June 24th. The extravagant musical comes from Baz Luhrmann, maker of Moulin Rouge! and 2013’s The Great Gatsby. Austin Butler, in a performance garnering some awards chatter, plays The King with Tom Hanks as The Colonel. Costars include Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natasha Bassett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

While Butler’s work has been lauded across the board, reviews for the film are a bit more mixed. It received a warm welcome at the Cannes Film Festival and it could certainly be an audience pleaser. The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 77%.

The studio would love for Elvis to approach the earnings of Bohemian Rhapsody from 2018 (and maybe win some of the same Oscars). The Freddie Mercury biopic took in $51 million for its start with an overall domestic haul of $216 million. Coincidentally that’s the same figure that Gatsby made for Luhrmann’s personal best. WB is  hoping for a better beginning than 2019’s Rocketman, the Elton John tale which debuted with $25 million (with a $96 million eventual tally).

Obviously Elvis Presley is one of music’s biggest sensations ever and that could propel this to a premiere on pace with Rhapsody. Older moviegoers have recently proven they’re willing to venture out thanks to Top Gun: Maverick. 

I’m tempted to project this hits $45-50 million, but I’ll hedge a bit and say it fall a little shy of that.

Elvis opening weekend prediction: $35.6 million

For my The Black Phone prediction, click here:

The Black Phone Box Office Prediction

June 17-19 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Note (06/16): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my Lightyear estimate down again – from $95.5M to $85.5M

Blogger’s Note (06/15): Revising my Lightyear estimate down from $101.8M to $95.5M

Disney/Pixar looks to take its usual spot atop the charts with their first theatrical only release since Onward when Lightyear opens this weekend. It’s the only new product debuting as the Toy Story origin tale hopes to be the latest summer offering to top $100 million out of the gate. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Lightyear Box Office Prediction

I’m projecting it will gross just under nine figures and that’s slightly less than the third and fourth editions of the franchise it’s spawned from.

That should easily put it in first position with Jurassic World: Dominion falling to second. After a pretty solid start, I imagine it should suffer an approximate 60% decline like its 2018 predecessor Fallen Kingdom. 

Top Gun: Maverick should cruise to another meager decline for a third place showing in the $30 million range with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Bad Guys filling the rest of the top five.

Here’s how I see it:

1. Lightyear

Predicted Gross: $85.5 million

2. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Gross: $54.8 million

3. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $36 million

4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $1.5 million

Box Office Results (June 10-12)

Jurassic World: Dominion couldn’t quite match what Fallen Kingdom accomplished four summers ago. The sixth entry in the nearly three decade old franchise earned $145 million, falling short of my $155.3 million expectation. Middling reviews (it has the worst Tomatoes score of the flock) probably pushed it a little lower than initially forecasted, but it’s still a respectable start.

Top Gun: Maverick dropped to second after two soaring frames at #1 with $51.8 million. I went a touch higher at $58.8 million and the three week take is an amazing $395 million. The total is good for the 10th largest third weekend in domestic history.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was third with $5.2 million. My projection? $5.2 million! The MCU juggernaut has amassed $398 million.

The Bad Guys was fourth with $2.5 million (I said $2.4 million) to bring its earnings close to nine figures with $91 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie rounded out the top five at $2.4 million compared to my $2.2 million prediction. It’s made $27 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Lightyear Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/16): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my Lightyear estimate down again – from $95.5M to $85.5M

Blogger’s Note (06/15): Revising my estimate down from $101.8M to $95.5M

Disney-Pixar is banking that the buzz for Lightyear will propel it to a nine figure opening orbit on June 17th. Serving as an origin story for one half of the beloved Toy Story duo, Angus MacLane makes his feature-length directorial debut. Captain America himself Chris Evans takes over vocal duties as the title character, replacing Tim Allen (who was heard in the four TS blockbusters). Additional actors providing the sounds are Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Uzo Aduba, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The Mouse Factory is moving onward with theatrical only outputs for its Pixar brand after Soul, Luca, and Turning Red all hit the streaming circuit on Disney+. The last big screen studio offering was over two years ago with… Onward. 

For over a quarter century, the Toy Story franchise has been a gold mine. In 2010, part 3 premiered with $110 million and eventually earned $415 million domestically. The fourth entry in 2019 built upon that with respective numbers of $120 million and $434 million. They also both took home the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Lightyear may not quite reach those stratospheric heights since it’s a spin-off, but I don’t think it’ll come in with a whole lot less. I do believe a launch of just under $100 million is feasible.

Lightyear opening weekend prediction: $85.5 million

June 10-12 Box Office Predictions

Universal is looking for the dinosaurs to rule the box office landscape for the sixth time with Jurassic World: Dominion. It’s the only new wide release and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Jurassic World: Dominion Box Office Prediction

Dominion is the third feature in the second Jurassic trilogy and the numbers could be assisted by melding cast members from the original trilogy with the current one. I’m projecting it’ll improve on the opening weekend of predecessor Fallen Kingdom, but not approach the $200M+ debut of Jurassic World. That said – I have a strange feeling it might underperform so check back to see if my projection shifts later this week.

Top Gun: Maverick will be the runner-up after two incredible weeks on top including an astonishing sophomore hold (more on that below). It had no competition this past weekend and the dinos should eat into its grosses. Even with Dominion around, it still may only drop in the 40-45% range… maybe even less.

The rest of the top five should be populated by holdovers Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Bad Guys, and The Bob’s Burgers Movie. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Gross: $155.3 million

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $58.8 million

3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

4. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $2.2 million

Box Office Results (June 3-5)

In a turn of events that was even more impressive than its Memorial Day weekend rollout, Top Gun: Maverick is officially a phenomenon as it dropped only 29%. That means a #1 frame of $90 million – towering over my $67.5 million projection. The number is the 8th largest sophomore output of all time. For perspective – it’s $6 million higher than Spider-Man: No Way Home and just $13 million below what  The Avengers made during the same weekend. It’s the best hold we’ve ever witnessed for a picture that debuted above $100 million. The ten-day tally is $295 million and the sky looks to be the limit.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remained in second with $9.1 million. My guess? $9.1 million! The MCU behemoth is up to $388 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie fell a steep 63% in its second serving with $4.6 million, a bit under my $5.3 million prediction. Total is $22 million.

The Bad Guys took fourth with $3.3 million (I said $3.1 million) as it inches close to the century mark with $87 million.

Downton Abbey: A New Era rounded out the top five at $3.1 million, in line with my $3.2 million estimate for $35 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Jurassic World: Dominion Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/08): My prediction for Dominion has fallen… from $165.3M to $155.3M

Two generations of Jurassic actors team up for the release of Dominion on June 10th. I’m also told there are dinosaurs involved. Closing out the trilogy that began with the record breaking Jurassic World seven summers ago, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard join forces with familiar faces that populated some of the original trilogy – Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Other costars include BD Wong, Omar Sy, Isabella Sermon, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Campbell Scott, Scott Haze, and Dichen Lachman. Colin Trevorrow, who made the 2015 entry but not the 2018 sequel, is back in the director’s seat.

As mentioned, when the dinos came back in 2015, it set the all-time ; the domestic opening with $208 million (that held for six months until Star Wars: The Force Awakens dropped). It eventually made $652 million. Three years later, the lesser regarded Fallen Kingdom started with lesser numbers. The premiere was $148 million with an overall gross of $417 million.

My hunch is that the mixing of stars from nearly three decades ago with Pratt and Howard could push this to better earnings than its predecessor. On the flip side, I don’t see it hitting over $200 million like Jurassic World. This might debut in the middle range of its trilogy counterparts and perhaps closer to Kingdom. 

Jurassic World: Dominion opening weekend prediction: $155.3 million

June 3-5 Box Office Predictions

With no wide release newcomers coming our way as June kicks off, Tom will easily cruise to another weekend atop the charts after the history making debut of Top Gun: Maverick. 

The long in development sequel set holiday records (more on that below). Many Memorial Day weekend openers see hefty declines in their sophomore frames, but that fate may not apply here. Maverick received a rare A+ Cinemascore meaning audiences (like critics) are loving what they’re seeing. That may draw out viewers who didn’t wish to deal with the crowds in addition to repeat viewers. I’ll say it dips less than 50%.

Slots 2-5 should remain stagnant with Jurassic World: Dominion on deck for the following weekend. Here’s how I see it:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $67.5 million

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (May 27-30)

As mentioned, Tom Cruise soared to the largest debut of his career with room to spare. Top Gun: Maverick amassed $126.7 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $160.5 million for the four-day. That eclipses my respective takes of $113.4 million and $138 million. Cruise’s previous all-time starter was 2005’s War of the Worlds with $65 million. Maverick also moved past the 15-year-old Memorial frame record that belonged to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with its $139 million Friday to Monday haul.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse dropped to second after three weeks on top with $20.3 million, on pace with my $22.1 million forecast. The total is $374 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie certainly didn’t earn Simpsons type of coin ($74 million). However, it did manage to surpass my expectations. The animated pic made $12.4 million for the three-day and $14.8 million over the long portion. The third place showing ran ahead of my projections of $9.2 million and $11.6 million.

Downton Abbey: A New Era proved rather front loaded with a fourth place sophomore gross of $7.4 million compared to my $9.5 million estimate. The two-week gross is $29 million.

The Bad Guys rounded out the top five with $5.6 million (I said $6.2 million) for $82 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…