‘Minions’ rules US theatres on July 4th weekend

LOS ANGELES • “Minions: The Rise of Gru”, the latest instalment in the animated “Despicable Me” franchise, crushed the competition at the North American box office in its opening weekend, with an expected US$127.9 million (RM565.06 million) take over the four-day July 4th holiday.

Universal’s “Minions” far outpaced the No 2 film, “Top Gun: Maverick”, which came in at US$32.5 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said on Sunday.

“This is a sensational opening,” said analyst David A Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

“Family animation, more than any other genre, has struggled to find its footing during the pandemic,” he said. “This weekend, ‘Minions’ is breaking through and big animation is back in business.”

According to Variety, if confirmed, the box office haul would make the fifth chapter in the “Despicable Me” series about reformed super-villain Gru and his yellow Minions the highest film opening over Independence Day, besting 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”.

Rolling along in second place is Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick”, the crowd-pleasing sequel to the original 1986 film that once again features Tom Cruise as cocky US Navy test pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. The film has raked in more than US$1.1 billion worldwide.

Baz Luhrmann’s music biopic “Elvis” — starring relative newcomer Austin Butler as the King alongside Tom Hanks as his exploitative manager, Colonel Tom Parker — dropped to third place in its second weekend of release, at US$23.7 million.

Fourth place went to “Jurassic World Dominion”, Universal’s sixth instalment in the “Jurassic Park” franchise, at US$19.2 million.

The latest dinosaur frightfest stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, alongside franchise originals Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum.

Rounding out the top five was horror film “The Black Phone” starring Ethan Hawke as a serial killer, which earned US$14.6 million in its second weekend in theatres. — AFP