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.

Oscar Predictions: Lightyear

The buzz for Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear is just fine, but it’s not in the stratosphere of some of the studio’s other efforts. The origin story for the co-lead of the Toy Story franchise (voiced by Tim Allen for those four pics and by Chris Evans here) is at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

If Onward at 88% or Brave at 78% nabbed nominations in the Best Animated Feature Oscar derby, this should manage to do so as well pretty easily. However, let’s see how the competition plays out in the second half of the season. Pixar’s spring title Turning Red has probably reserved a spot and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio looms. Other hopefuls include Apollo 10 1/2 and Wendell & Wild. 

In the 22 years of its existence, Pixar has taken home exactly half of the Academy’s animation trophies (with Disney traditional picking up four more). Two of them were the third and fourth Toy Story sagas. The category wasn’t around for parts one and two and I bet both would’ve won. That bodes well for Lightyear though the somewhat mixed chatter could complicate matters. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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

Oscar Predictions – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

John Mulaney and Andy Samberg lend their vocal and comedic talents to Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, based on the animated series that started in 1989. Akiva Schaffer (Samberg’s partner in their group The Lonely Island) directs. Other familiar faces behind the pic’s creatures include KiKi Layne, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Keegan-Michael Key, Tim Robinson, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, and Dennis Haysbert.

Rangers is foregoing the theatrical experience with a Disney+ rollout this Friday. Could the Mouse Factory make a play for a Best Animated Feature nod? With the review embargo lapsing, that seems at least feasible. Sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, some critics are heaping praise with some comparisons to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. 

On the other hand, the studio will surely push the upcoming Lightyear and this spring’s Turning Red in the category. It remains to be seen whether there’s a significant push for the chipmunks. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Turning Red

Turning Red is the latest Pixar title and it is out Friday on Disney Plus. The coming-of-age tale comes from director Domee She, who won an Oscar in 2018 for her short film Bao (also from Disney/Pixar).

The review embargo is up today and the result so far is 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Red was originally slated for a theatrical release but the pandemic altered that plan. It will follow in the footsteps of Soul, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Luca. What do they all have in common besides their studio? All were nominated or won (in Soul‘s case) for the Animated Feature Oscar.

With bicoastal limited theatrical showings, Red will qualify for next year’s Academy consideration. For 2021, 60% of the animated movies (Raya, Luca, Encanto) are Mouse Factory products.

While it’s certainly early, critical reaction here indicates this could easily make the cut. It’s also worth noting that Billie Eilish and brother Finneas O’Connell penned some original tunes that could be Original Song hopefuls. If that pans out, Eilish could be gunning for her second nod in a row as she’s currently up for “No Time to Die”. There’s also Ludwig Goransson who scored Red and he’s a previous Oscar winner for Black Panther. 

The other Pixar product comes this summer with Lightyear. I wouldn’t write Red‘s inclusion in blue ink yet, but don’t be surprised if it’s listed a year from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…