Sorry Steve Carell. Any lingering thought that your character Gru was the star of the Despicable Me franchise should be forgotten after this weekend. Minions, the 3D prequel starring Gru’s little, yellow, hench-things, has already topped the first two Despicable Me features on its first day in theatres. All that’s left is to see how close to the all-time animated box office record Minions will get this weekend.
Minions earned an estimated $46.2 million on Friday, including an impressive $6.2 million from Thursday evening previews. Two years ago, Despicable Me 2 brought in $35 million from 2,974 locations on its first day in theatres. We should note that the sequel opened the Wednesday before the July Fourth holiday, which makes a strict comparison between it and Minions a bit unfair. On its first weekend, DM2 earned $83.5 million, but with a five-day total of over $143 million.
After Friday’s big win, Minions seems to be headed for a three-day take of as much as $115 million. Early projections had the prequel at $90 million (right where Inside Out opened last month), so this morning’s outlook is vastly improved. Anything over $110.3 million will make Minions the second-highest animated debut in domestic history, replacing 2010’s Toy Story 3. For now, the all-time record of $121.6 million set by Shrek the Third in 2007 appears safe.
Among this weekend’s other new releases, only horror pic The Gallows made it into the top five. The R-rated found footage film took in an estimated $4.5 million from 2,720 locations yesterday, towards what should be a weekend total in the $10 million range. The Gallows is the sixth Jason Blum production to be released in 2015 – with five more scheduled before December.
The sci-fi thriller Self/Less, with Ryan Reynolds and Bin Kingsley, opened in seventh place on Friday with an estimated $1.98 million from 2,353 locations, or a dismal per-screen average of $832. Compare that to Blue Sky Cinema’s launch of Baahuball: The Beginning. The South Indian action pic earned an estimated $1.3 million from just 236 locations for an average of $5,500. Both Baahuball and Self/Less are expected to bring in $4.5 million through Sunday.
Check back tomorrow for complete details on this weekend’s box office.