Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
July 15, 2015
Kim Hollis: Why do you think Minions found such a high level of success as compared to other animated spinoffs such as Penguins of Madagascar and Puss in Boots?
Ben Gruchow: They capitalized on a relevant franchise, utilizing the biggest breakout aspect of that franchise. With Puss in Boots, the parent franchise had seen two consecutive significant declines in domestic gross, with 2010's Shrek Forever After throwing under the original film (and that's without accounting for nine years of ticket-price inflation). The Puss in Boots character had also lost a good amount of his novelty by the time his spinoff was released. Puss in Boots was able to recover and land a decent final multiplier off of a disappointing opening, but it still topped out at 60-odd percent of the lowest domestic grosser in the parent franchise.
Penguins of Madagascar did even worse as a percentage, and I attribute that to its lower built-in audience (with the Madagascar series skewing younger than either the Shreks or the Despicable Mes) and my take is that the penguins as characters were nowhere near as vividly conceived or utilized in their parent franchise as either the Minions or Puss in Boots were in theirs.
Jason Barney: It was released at the right time - there is little competition in the market place - and they struck gold with the concept. Kids are entertained by those jittery little banana-looking things like you wouldn't believe, and I have to admit that when I saw both Despicable Me movies, I was intrigued by them. They are lovable, off the wall characters that added greatly to the success of the original franchise.
Getting their own film in the peak of the summer movie season just equates to Universal cashing in. I never thought there was a risk here.
Matthew Huntley: It's a short answer, but I agree wholeheartedly with Jason. The yellow, thumb-shaped minions just seemed to strike a chord with kids/families alike. Universal heard it and moved forward accordingly. It all seems fairly cut and dry.
For whatever reason, the Penguins of Madagascar and Puss in Boots don't come across as charming or funny and it seems like DreamWorks, compared to Universal, didn't take into consideration that demand for these respective characters just wasn't there, but they proceeded with spin-offs anyway. With Minions, though, the evidence seemed much clearer that the people would respond, and boy, did they ever!