Universal’s Minions Revive Box Office
By John Hamann
July 12, 2015
How did these little yellow creatures that speak a language not our own manage to dominate so triumphantly? Marketing. Universal’s marketing team similarly turned Jurassic World into a $208 million opener and Furious 7 into a $147 million opener. Minions were everywhere, as Universal provided these little guys with the franchise's biggest promotional push ever. The studio also played this very smartly with the release date, avoiding the July 4th weekend were fireworks were happening on Saturday, instead dropping it the weekend after. It avoided the Inside Out push as well, as the Pixar release is now in its fourth weekend and earning less than $20 million now. Additionally, by opening overseas two weekends prior to the domestic debut, there was already good box office news for Minions. It has already earned $280 million overseas.
The marketing was incredibly key for the Despicable spinoff, as it didn’t have the strong reviews that the other films in the Despicable Me universe had. Despicable Me was 81% fresh, and the sequel was 74% fresh. Minions came in much lower at 55% fresh, and the site’s "top critics" liked it even less at 33% fresh. Audiences were not as critical. Minions earned the same Cinemascore, an A, that both the previous Despicable Me movies did. Word is that Minions is more kid-focussed than the previous films, and regardless of reviews, it should play long into the summer. For comparison's sake, both Despicable movies earned opening-to-total multipliers greater than 4.4. Minions have the dance floor to themselves for most of the remainder of the summer. Aardman Animations' Shaun of the Sheep (August 7th) likely won’t open to much (despite being extremely well-reviewed), and the same goes for Underdogs from The Weinstein Company, which debuts on August 14th.
Universal continues to sizzle in 2015 and still isn’t done for the summer or the year. On the domestic side alone, Ted 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, Furious 7, Jurassic World and one weekend of Minions have earned almost $1.5 billion stateside, and the studio still has what could be two big films still to come. Trainwreck launches next weekend against Ant-Man, and given the current celebrity of Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow, this could be a $40 million opener, and see a multiplier similar to that of Knocked Up. Then, in August, Universal has Straight Outta Compton, which could do 8 Mile kind of business. In September, Uni has the next Night Shyamalan film, The Visit, and then Everest the following weekend. The rest of the year seems just as strong for the studio, and includes some Oscar bait with the Steve Jobs movie and By The Sea with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Finishing about $100 million behind in second is Universal’s last behemoth, Jurassic World. Despite millions from Minions, and a loss of 300 screens, Jurassic World still put up decent numbers this weekend. The franchise reboot earned another $18.1 million and dropped a not bad 38%. Considering Jurassic World opened to more than $200 million and had a second frame above $100 million, the fact that it has never dropped more than 50% in its run is significant, especially since both Inside Out and Minions have run well in its wake. Its domestic cume has now reached $590.7 million, with $600 million coming next week. It should outgun Marvel’s Avengers $623 million before August begins. It also has a worldwide tally of $1.47 billion now.