Illumination Entertainment will rule the Fourth of July weekend at the box office when Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on July 1st. This is the fifth entry in the franchise that began a dozen summers back with Despicable Me and the first in five years.
Some early reviews are out and they’re mostly indicating it’s a decent if unspectacular chapter of the series. With 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s higher than the two previous pics – 2015’s Minions (55%) and 2017’s Despicable Me 3 (59%). Of course, Gru‘s number will soon rise or fall as more critics weigh in.
2010’s Despicable Me (81%) and its 2013 sequel (75%) fared better, but only part two received awards attention. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Original Song with Pharrell’s inescapable “Happy”. Due to Disney’s Frozen and the equally omnipresent “Let It Go”, it lost both.
Based on early buzz, I see no path for Gru to find its way to the Animated Feature derby. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
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)
Making the leap from the Nickelodeon small screen for a live action rendering, DoraandtheLostCityofGold looks to cash in at theaters next weekend. The family adventure is based on the animated series “Dora the Explorer” that started back in 2000. James Bobin, best known for TheMuppets reimagining and AliceThroughtheLookingGlass, directs. Isabela Moner, recently seen in InstantFamily, is the title character with a supporting cast including Eugenio Derbez, Michael Pena, and Eva Longoria. Danny Trejo and Benicio del Toro provided voice work
Paramount is hopeful that a pot of gold will exist with Latino audiences and kids who’ve made the TV show part of their programming over the last many years. The film is probably review proof and they’ve been mixed so far. This shouldn’t face much trouble having the largest debut of the five pictures arriving over the weekend. I’ll say high teens to low 20s is where this lands.
DoraandtheLostCityofGold opening weekend prediction: $19.7 million
Warner Bros keeps the onslaught of animated titles being delivered to theaters going with Storks, opening next weekend. The comedic adventure comes from Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland. Mr. Stroller is known for his live-action genre titles like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, and the Neighbors franchise. The pic features the voices of Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Kelsey Grammer, and Ty Burrell.
2016 has been a banner year for animated material with mega-hits like Zootopia, Finding Dory, and The Secret Life of Pets and critically acclaimed fare like Kubo and the Two Strings and Sausage Party. With all those titles mentioned, it’s a distinct possibility that an animated feature will really have to stand out now for family audiences to plunk down their dollars. Whether Storks fits that bill is a legit question.
September has been an occasionally fruitful month for the genre. Hotel Transylvania and its sequel are responsible for the month’s two largest openings at $42 and $48 million, respectively. The two Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs flicks both opened above $30 million. Warner Bros should be ecstatic if Storks manages those numbers.
I don’t believe this will quite reach that level and a debut in the mid to high 20s seems more probable.
Storks opening weekend prediction: $27.9 million
For my The Magnificent Seven prediction, click here:
Audiences were first introduced to Danny Trejo’s character Machete in 2007’s Grindhouse in one of the brilliant fake trailers. This led director Robert Rodriguez to helm Machete in 2010. That film opened to a fair $11.4 million and overall domestic gross of $26 million. Not great numbers, but it only cost $10.5 million to produce so a profit was made and a sequel was greenlit.
Now we have Machete Kills some three years later with Trejo and Jessica Alba returning and an all-star cast of new characters played by Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, and Charlie Sheen (playing The President no less!). The budget has nearly doubled to $20 million.
Simply put, I don’t see much demand for a sequel. I believe Machete Kills will basically be a dud and will not match the opening weekend gross of its predecessor. There’s also plenty of competition out there with Gravity and Captain Phillips. Maybe I’m missing some pent up longing for violent Machete action, but I don’t think so.
Machete Kills opening weekend prediction: $7.2 million