MONDAY AM: Writethru after Sunday AM post — As Illumination/Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru clinches an Independence Day 4-day opening record of $125.1M, the movie’s success this weekend should come as a reminder to many executives, both motion picture and streaming, as well as Wall Street, about the power of the big screen.
Rise of Gru‘s 3-day of $107M is the second best ever for a Despicable Me/Minions franchise or Illumination Entertainment movie after Minions’ $115.7M start in 2015. The 4-day take is now second best after Minions‘ $128.7M. Still fantastic despite slightly lower estimates today as moviegoing recedes due to families making time for the Independence Day holiday. Rise of Gru‘s Monday at $18.1M is expected to be 30% off its Sunday gross of $26M.
While it may go without saying, realize that Rise of Gru‘s success here, in addition to being built on the back of a multimillion dollar global marketing campaign, is also propped by a kid’s brand that has generated over $6 billion in retail sales. And that brand was built off of what was an original motion picture IP 12 years ago, which hasn’t dimmed. Streaming movie franchises — they don’t yield these types of results.
True, there’s the assortment of Viacom Nick properties, i.e. South Park, SpongeBob, and Dora the Explorer. But those are long-running TV series.
When you’re a motion picture global brand, advertisers want to partner with you, and in the case of Minions: The Rise of Gru, Universal pulled in a group of global advertisers, who all together delivered the biggest media value ever for an Illumination Despicable Me/Minions movie at $285M+, according to sources.
These stateside partners included Liberty Mutual, CarMax, Zip Recruiter, IHOP restaurants, HelloFresh, Hippeas, Levi’s, Supergoop!, Olipop, McDonald’s, and more.
Consider the feat with pulling this promo partnership off for a minute. This was a movie that was originally scheduled to come out two years ago. The pandemic screwed up all these promo partnerships for a number of movies, i.e. bags of Wonder Woman 1984 Doritos were hitting grocery shelves during the summer of 2020 as that sequel was originally set to be released that summer (before jettisoning to an HBO Max theatrical day-and-date plan at the end of the year). There were certain promotions connected to tentpole movies that summer which had to go, as the product and supply chain was ready for that product. In the case of Minions: The Rise of Gru, toys connected to the movie were hitting Walmart. Ditto for Top Gun: Maverick, which had a Matchbox airplane set on shelves, too.
Whenever there are massive last-minute release theatrical date shifts (we’re talking last-minute, within months), promo partners are apt to get riled up at studios, as products have been created for a film, and there’s a time line in which they’re expected to hit the market. However, during the earlier part of the pandemic, there were a multitude of release date changes as box office capitals New York and LA remained closed, and studios, for the most part, remained on level terms with promo partners because of force majeure rules.
Some of Minions: Rise of Gru‘s stateside advertisers include:
Liberty Mutual, which had their first animation partnership with Rise of Gru, with their custom spot starring the guys in an iconic New York boardwalk backdrop from Liberty Mutual’s Truth Tellers campaign.
In its first film partnership, automotive retail partner CarMax aired two spots featuring the Minions around its 30-Day Money Back Guarantee (up to 1,500 miles) and Instant Online Offer to sell one’s car. The sequel was promoted on CarMax’s social channels and at their 230+ store locations nationwide. There was a social filter, whereby CarMax customers could take a photo or video with the Minions as they capture the memory of purchasing their new car, along with CarMax’s iconic big yellow bow.
McDonald’s is a returning partner to the franchise, and they’ve pushed the sequel in 70 markets, including Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, and Canada. The campaigns included three lines of Happy Meals and a line of plastic toys. There was a custom animated spot featuring the Minions putting their Kung-Fu skills to the test for the last McNugget.
IHOP served up a limited menu centered around the film with Ba-Ba-Banana Pudding Pancakes, Cinna-minions, Gru’s Evil Steakburger, and more at their 1,700 restaurants in the US, Mexico, Peru, Panama, and Puerto Rico. The partnership included a 360 marketing campaign and custom TV spot featuring a Minion dreaming about the pancakes and fantasizing about a whirlwind romance together.
Rise of Gru was featured in Levi’s 275 stores around the world, where consumers could choose from an assortment of pins, patches, and more, then work with a tailor to adorn to their favorite Levi’s piece. The in-store experience included a Minions takeover of the Levi’s Tailor Shop, a custom Levi’s Minions video spot, and an interactive element.
HelloFresh offered up a limited-edition inspired-by meal kit for consumers to create their own Minions Pizza. Consumers were able to submit photos on social media with the hashtag, #HelloFreshMinions, and enter into a contest to win movie tickets and swag.
Suncare brand Supergoop! launched a limited-edition Minions line with its Play sunscreen. The collaboration dropped right around National Sunscreen Day to promote the film, while educating on the importance of SPF. Supergoop! also has a Minions-themed PSA, organic social, and PR/influencer campaign.
Soda brand Olipop created a limited-edition Banana Cream flavor inspired by the Minions’ infatuation with the fruit. Olipop pushed the movie via organic social, digital media, influencer partnerships, email newsletters, SMS, and a webpage takeover in a campaign that racked up 22M impressions.
Chickpea-based snack brand, Hippeas is a returning partner to the series with a campaign in the US, UK, and Ireland. Minions are splashed across all flavors of its chickpea puffs in a program that’s supported by outdoor, in-store displays, digital and PR.
There was never a question about family moviegoers returning during the pandemic. In fact, they already did, and Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s record $804.8M domestic performance was proof, along with Illumination/Universal’s Sing 2 playing in the shadow of it during the year-end holidays, with a final $162.7M U.S./Canada gross.
However, Rise of Gru did attract a massive under-25 demographic at 89%. Even more impressive is how Universal made a brand that was unhip, hip again for the 13-17 crowd, who showed up at 34%. Alas, the power of TikTok. Scroll down for more detail. General audiences in Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits gave Rise of Gru 4 1/2 stars while kids under 12, gave it 5 stars. Moms outweighed dads, 52% to 48%. with girls slightly ahead of boys, 51% to 49%.
Said Universal Domestic Distribution Boss Jim Orr about the success of Minions: The Rise of Gru this weekend, “This is an amazing debut, proving that when you have an incredibly well-crafted, brilliantly acted, hysterically funny film, as we do with Minions: The Rise of Gru, family audiences will pour into theatres. Chris Meledandri and Illumination add to their extraordinary record of success with a film that audiences are embracing around the world.”
Of Minions: Rise of Gru‘s ticket sales, $8.6M ($7.3M for the 3-day) came from 400 Imax auditoriums in the US and Canada, making it the fourth-highest Domestic IMAX opening weekend ever for an animated title. According to EntTelligence, Rise of Gru had the highest average ticket price for animated movie during the pandemic at $12.82 after Lightyear ($12.45), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($11.76), The Bad Guys ($11.32) and Sing 2 ($10.69M).
There’s a handful of tentpoles that Universal promotes through its Symphony program, which means they get a huge push across all sister brands in the Comcast conglomerate.
In partnership with its streamer, Peacock, there was a cobranded Minions: The Rise of Gru x The Office custom animated piece which dropped, yielding over 14M views in its first day online.
Minions had in-show integrations on America’s Got Talent and Today, which had a Minion segment daily during its week of release, including anchors drawn as Minions by The Rise of Gru codirector Brad Abelson. There was also a Minion fan celebration event from the Today plaza, exclusive clip reveals, and an appearance by star Steve Carell. There was also a full Minions episode takeover of American Ninja Warrior, including a branded obstacle course, animated Minions running the course, and a cobranded logo.
Rise of Gru kicked off with the Tokyo Summer Olympics featuring two custom animated, cobranded spots highlighting the yellow guys’ encounter with Olympians Caeleb Dressel and Simone Biles. There were also placements across the Beijing Olympics, French open, Indy Car, MLB, Premiere League, Belmont Stakes, Sky’s broadcast of The Hundreds, and Telemundo’s broadcast of the FIFA World Cup.
And, of course, there were activations at Universal Parks and Resorts, including Minions tricked-out at entrances, tram tours, etc. at Universal Studios Japan, Singapore, Hollywood, and Orlando resorts.
Total 4-day ticket sales for all movies are estimated at $227.6M, +10% over the July 5-8, 2019 period which did $207.6M.
Weekend estimates updated as of Monday morning:
1.) Minions: Rise of Gru (Uni) 4,391 theaters, Fri $48.3M, Sat $32.6M, Sun $26M, Mon $18.1M, 3-day $107M, 4-day $125.1M/Wk 1
2.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,843 (-105) theaters, Fri $7.1M, Sat $9.7M Sun $8.9M, Mon $7.2M, 3-day $25.8M (-14%), 4-day $33M, Total $570.9M/Wk 6
At $1.1 billion, the sequel is now producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s highest grossing movie of all-time worldwide, outstripping 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which did $1.066 billion.
3.) Elvis (WB) 3,932 (+26) theaters, Fri $5.3M, Sat $6.8M, Sun $6.3M, Mon $5M, 3-day $18.4M (-41%) 4-day $23.5M, Total $71.8M/Wk 2
Great hold here. But it’s not the young kids who are propelling this movie in weekend 2 PostTrak exits. Rather, it’s the continued flow of older women. Females 25+ repped half the audience (+5%). The over 55 crowed showed up at 33% this weekend (+2%), while the under 25 at 18% (-3%).
4.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 3,801 (-432) theaters, Fri $4.7M, Sat $6.1M, Sun $5.2M, Mon $3.7M, 3-day $16M (-40%), 4-day $19.7M, Total $335.8M/Wk 4
5.) The Black Phone (Uni) 3,156 (+6) theaters, Fri $3.9M, Sat $4.5M Sun $3.7M, Mon $2.2M, 3-day $12.2M (-48%), 4-day $14.4M,/Total $49.6M: Wk 2
Typically horror films drop like a rock in weekend 2, more than -60%. Not this one.
6.) Lightyear (Dis) 3,800 (-455) theaters, Fri $2M, Sat $2.4M , Sun $1.9M, Mon $1.49M, 3-day $6.37M (-65%), 4-day $7.86M, Total $106.6M/Wk 3
7.) Mr. Malcolm’s List (BST) 1,384 theaters, Fri $311K, Sat $285K, Sun $231K, Mon $175K, 3-day $826,3K, 4-day $1M/Wk 1
8.) Everything, Everywhere All at Once (A24) 607 (+83) theaters, Fri $141K, Sat $209K Sun $202K, Mon $121K 3-day $552K (+4%), 4-day $673K, Total $67.1M/Wk 15
9.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 590 (-1,265) theaters, Fri $108k, Sat $152K, Sun $131K, Mon $92K, 3-day $391K (-78%), 4-day $483K, Total $410.6M/Wk 9
10.) Jug Jugg Jeeyo (Moviegoer) 318 theaters, Fri $98,6K, Sat $112K, Sun $99,4K, Mon $81K 3-day $310K (-57%), 4-day $391K, Total: $1.5M/Wk 2
11.) Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (A24) 22 theaters (+16), Fri $92K, Sat $85K Sun $82K, Mon $49,6K, 3-day $258,4K (+62%), 4-day $308K, Total $530,7K/Wk 2
SATURDAY AM: A fifth animated movie about annoying, high-pitched, frantic little beetles — who many in the industry thought would under-deliver over the July 4th weekend — is doing exactly the opposite of that.
Illumination/Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru is hauling in some serious cash, with a $109.5M 3-day, and $129.2M 4-day. The expected worldwide debut of $196.6M ($202.1M with holdovers) is decimating our earlier projection of $150M. To think that two Independence Day holidays ago we were confined to our homes, watching Hamilton on Disney+.
It’s just more proof that it certainly pays not to send everything to streaming; that there’s money in movie theaters. I’m sure there’s a faction of Universal brass in the face of NBCUniversal CEO window-crusher Jeff Shell who are beaming and relieved over the power of the theatrical window.
Like Paramount saving Top Gun: Maverick during the pandemic, which turned into a billion-plus success for the Melrose Ave. lot and the highest-grossing movie YTD, it truly paid to save your tentpoles during the pandemic. One high-level rival studio source mentioned to me a few weeks ago with suspicion: “We’ll just see how good the marketplace is for animated family films after Rise of Gru.” Well, the answer to that is clear as an azure sky of deepest summer: the appetite for animated family films is perfectly fine.
It would not be shocking if Rise of Gru topples the biggest Friday-Sunday opening ever for an Illumination/Universal movie. That is 2015’s Minions, which did $115.7M. Already on a 4-day basis, Rise of Gru beats the Friday-Monday take of Minions (even though that was over a non-holiday), which was $128.6M. An A CinemaScore is only going to make ticket sales go higher today.
Rise of Gru‘s 4-day is also arguably a record for the Independence Day holiday stretch. How is that? Given how July 4th jumps around the calendar, and in some years creates a 4-day weekend (when falling on a Sunday or Monday), Rise of Gru‘s $129.2M is ahead of the Independence Day 4-day record of 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which did $115.88M in its Friday-Monday stretch. That’s when July 4th fell on a Monday. Yes, yes, there’s Sony/Marvel’s 2019 mammoth Spider-Man: Far From Home, which opened on Tuesday, July 2, in a year when July 4th fell on a Thursday. That pic clocked a 3-day of $92.5M, and a 6-day of $185M.
In Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits, audiences gave Rise of Gru a very good 87% positive, 71% recommend, while kids under 12 gave it an 86% positive, 62% recommend. The animated pic is mom-leaning, as we expected, with 51% females, 75% under 25.
Extremely impressive here is the turnout of 13-17 year olds at 43%. That’s because Minions are cool again after the demo turned their noses up at the banana-eating creatures. All of this is because Universal went straight after the TikTok generation.
“The Rise of Gru‘s marketing team was so smart to hire Jack Antonoff,” @beretbug writes below. Antonoff, who has written ditties for Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey, is a fave of Gen Z, and Uni tapped him for the soundtrack, which includes TikTok generation favorites Kali Uchis, Tame Impala, BROCKHAMPTON, and Jackson Wang of GOT7.
It’s also becoming a trend for teens to dress up and go out and see Rise of Gru, and we’re not talking cosplay.
RelishMix social media analytics measured a social media universe of 685.5M across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok before the opening of Rise of Gru, which is 73% ahead of Lightyear‘s SMU, and about even with that of Incredibles 2.
“Top engagement comes from 219.8M views on YouTube and a robust new TikTok channel for the movie itself, with 175.6M views. Reposting rates on YouTube are outpacing norms at a rate of 28:1. The long-running Facebook with 32.1M fans and the studio’s social network of 45.2M with more key performance indicators are tracking strong,” reports RelishMix. Nothing but positive chatter on social for Rise of Gru, with “fans plopping in playful sound effects, zingers, emojis, and excitement for the film’s opening, as they give out pre-ratings for Minions at 10 of 10″
Diversity demos for Rise of Gru were 35% Caucasian, 35% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, and 18% Asian/other. Coasts and the South Central are coming up strong, though the Chris Melendandri-produced movie is playing everywhere, with seven of the top ten theaters in Los Angeles. Premium large format screens are driving 23% of Rise of Gru‘s gross to date.
EntTelligence shows that on Friday, Rise of Gru did 76% of its business before 8PM. However, its post 8PM share of business at 24% is ahead of Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s 23% and Lightyear‘s 20% share on day one during that evening time.
Adult titles like Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick ($26.8M 3-day, -9%; 4-day of $34.3M) and Warner Bros’ Elvis (3-day $20.3M, -35%, 4-day $25M) are also fueling a very rich box office weekend in what is still not post-pandemic yet, with all movies totaling an estimated $195M over 3-days, 28% ahead of the same respective weekend 26 in 2019, and 6% ahead of that year’s July 4th frame (which was July 5-7). Over the Friday-Monday period, it looks like four movies could do over $20M+ apiece, with Universal/Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion hanging just under that threshold with $19.9M in its fourth frame.
Stoking arthouse audiences’ appetites this weekend is Bleecker Street’s period piece Mr. Malcolm’s List from filmmaker Emma Holly Jones, which is posting an estimated $309K Friday, $901K 3-day and $1.06M 4-day for a 7th-place rank. The pic stars Freida Pinto, The Haunting of Hill House‘s Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Emily in Paris’ Ashley Park, and Gangs of London‘s Sope Dirisu. Seventy-nine percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is delivering 68% females, 60% over 35 with older adults showing up strong at 23% over 55. Diversity demos were 60% Caucasian, 16% Latino and Hispanic, 13% Black, and 11% Asian/other. South, West and the Mountain regions saw the best play for the movie. The script was on the Black List and was expanded originally from a short which starred Gemma Chan.
Saturday AM Estimates
1.) Minions: Rise of Gru (Uni) 4,391 theaters, Fri $48.1M, 3-day $109.5M, 4-day $129.2M/Wk 1
Minions: Rise of Gru‘s Friday is also the best ever for an Illumination-Universal movie, beating Minions’ first Friday (and previews) of $46M.
2.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,843 (-105) theaters, Fri $7.1M (-14%), 3-day $26.8M (-9%), 4-day $34.3M, Total $572.7M/Wk 6
3.) Elvis (WB) 3,932 (+26) theaters, Fri $5.3M (-58%), 3-day $20.3M (-35%) 4-day $25M, Total $73.3M/Wk 2
4.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 3,801 (-432) theaters, Fri $4.5M (-40%), 3-day $16.1M (-39%), 4-day $19.9M, Total $336M/Wk 4
5.) The Black Phone (Uni) 3,156 (+6) theaters, Fri $3.9M (-62%), 3-day $11.9M (-50%), 4-day $14.1M,/Total $49.3M: Wk 2
6.) Lightyear (Dis) 3,800 (-455) theaters, Fri $2M (-63%)/3-day $6.4M (-65%), 4-day $7.9M, Total $106.7M/Wk 3
7.) Mr. Malcolm’s List (BST) 1,384 theaters, Fri $309K, 3-day $901K, 4-day $1.06M/Wk 1
8.) Everything, Everywhere All at Once (A24) 607 (+83) theaters, Fri $141K (-2%), 3-day $507,6K (-4%), 4-day $630K, Total $67M/Wk 15
9.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 590 (-1,265) theaters, Fri $108k (-80%), 3-day $361,6K (-79%), 4-day $449K, Total $410.6M/Wk 9
10.) Jug Jugg Jeeyo (Moviegoer) 318 theaters, Fri $98,6K (-58%), 3-day $333K (-54%), 4-day $409K, Total: $1.5M/Wk 2
11.) Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (A24) 22 theaters (+16), Fri $87K (+6%), 3-day $253K (+59%), 4-day $310K, Total $533K/Wk 2
The A24 quirky live-action animated hybrid which has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score pushed its way into nine markets. Two new theaters were solid, I hear, the Alamo South Lamar in Austin and Alamo New Mission in San Francisco.
FRIDAY MIDDAY: Moviegoers can’t resist dinosaurs, and they can’t resist Minions, especially when they’re coming from Universal. The studio has a big Fourth of July winner in the fifth Illumination movie starring the little guys as Minions: The Rise of Gru will see a $116.6M 4-day holiday opening and a $98.7M 3-day after a $43M opening day (which includes Thursday night’s $10.75M) at 4,391 theaters.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is the fifth-highest opening of 2022 after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4M), Jurassic World Dominion ($145M), The Batman ($134M) and Top Gun: Maverick ($126.7M).
Rise of Gru is easily the top opening for an animated movie during the pandemic and the best for the Independence Day holiday in the Covid era, and it’s the fifth Despicable Me/Minions title to open at No. 1 in U.S./Canada.
The sequel also in on pace to be the 10th-highest animated film domestically, knocking Inside Out from No. 10, which debuted to $90.4M in 2015.
At this early point in the weekend, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick is eyeing a sixth weekend between $24M-$26M at 3,808 theaters, looking to clear $570M by EOD Monday. Friday is estimated around $7M. Warner Bros.’ Elvis booked at 3,932 locations is seeing a $5.7M second Friday and a second weekend around $20M, -35%, and 4-day of $25M. By Monday, the Baz Luhrmann movie could reach $73M.
Universal also has two other movies in the top five this weekend. Jurassic World Dominion at 3,801 sites with a fourth weekend of $15.4M, -42%, after a fourth Friday of $4.3M. A $19M 4-day is in store with the sixth Jurassic movie potentially landing at $335.1M by EOD Monday. Uni/Blumhouse’s The Black Phone is in 5th place with a second weekend of $10.6M, -55%, 4-day of $12.6M after a Friday of $3.5M. Pic’s 11-day total by end of the holiday looks to land at $47.7M.
FRIDAY AM: Universal/Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru has grabbed the best previews for an animated movie during the pandemic with $10.75M. That’s purely from showtimes that started at 2 p.m. Thursday in 3,350 theaters. This no doubt bodes for another excellent weekend at the summer box office.
That beats the $6.25M combined two-day previews of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the combined $5.2M in previews for Disney’s Lightyear. Rise of Gru also bests the previews of 2015’s Minions, which minted $6.2M off showtimes that began at 5 p.m. and went on to make $46M on its opening day (including those previews) and a $115.7M opening.
Also, Rise of Gru is ahead of Despicable Me 3‘s $4.1M Thursday night previews (6 p.m. start time), which went on to post a $29M first day and $72.4M 3-day.
Even more mindblowing: Rise of Gru‘s Thursday night is higher than Marvel’s Eternals, which did $9.5M off 6 p.m. showtimes.
The Chris Meledandri-produced animated sequel was looking to gross $70M-$80M over four days at 4,391 locations. Now it could be more like $90M-$100M. Since mid-March 2020, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 owns the best opening for an animated movie at $72.1M.
Mostly guy-skewing last night for Rise of Gru, however, it’s expected that moms will turn out. Those under 25 were 70%. Boys dominated those under 12 at 60%.
On Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave Rise of Gru a 69% vs. Minions 55% Rotten. Despicable Me was the best-reviewed of the series at 81% fresh, Part 2 with 75% and Part 3 at 59% Rotten.
Meanwhile, in the war between older-adult skewing movies, Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick and Warner Bros.’ Elvis, the Tom Cruise sequel was ahead of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays, except for Tuesday when the Baz Luhrmann film took the edge, $5.2M to $4.7M.
Maverick ends its fifth week with $47.2M at 3,948 sites, sending its running total to $538.4M — the highest-grossing movie of the year to date, 31% ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Maverick grossed $4M on Thursday, -7% from Wednesday. The outlook is for a 20% ease in the pic’s 4-day sixth weekend from last weekend, so about $23.7M.
Elvis ends Week 1 with $48.3M at 3,906 theaters. The pic made $3.5M on Thursday, -11% from Wednesday. Industry estimates expect at most a 40% ease in the 4-day vs. 3-day of Elvis, meaning about $18.7M. Box office sources believe Zoey 101 and Ruby & the Rockits actor Austin Butler is the key for bringing in the under-25 crowd as Elvis comes off of some ecstatic buzz.
Universal/Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion at 4,233 earned $2.7M, -11% from Wednesday for a running total in Week 3 of $316.1M, 9% behind previous chapter Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom at the same point in time. Dominion‘s third week came in at $39.8M.
Universal/Blumhouse’s The Black Phone ends Week 1 at 3,150 with $35.1M after a $2.5M Thursday, -7% from Wednesday.
Lightyear did an estimated $1.57M Thursday at 4,255 locations, -31% from Wednesday, a $27.6M second week, and a running total of $98.7M.
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