The Rise of Gru” breaks box office record

New York (CNN Business)– “Minions” unleashed a madness at the box offices this weekend.

Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the latest installment in the “Despicable Me” animated franchise, grossed an estimated $125 million domestically in the US in its four-day opening weekend, according to Universal.

With it, the film takes the record for the biggest opening during the July 4 holiday weekend, surpassing “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which grossed $115 million in 2011.

The premiere is a big boost for theaters. The industry has been waiting anxiously to see if families will return to theaters as they have been somewhat reluctant to bring their children into theaters during the pandemic. While there have been some family hits like “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” this concern was made even more apparent by the box office flop last month of Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear.”

But the success of “Minions” shows not only that families want to return, but that they will do so in large numbers for the right movie.

“Families want to be in theaters,” Jim Orr, president of national distribution for Universal, told CNN Business. “They want the social part of the event.”

The reasons behind the good performance of “Minions” are probably a mixture of good reviews (has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), being the next installment in a franchise that has grossed an estimated $4 billion worldwide, and possibly TikTok, after a trend on the social network of going to the movies in formal attire to see the film went viral.

The premiere of “Minions” was originally scheduled for 2020, but it was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. While other family movies decided to stream, Universal saved “Minions” for theaters, a strategy that proved a winner this weekend.

“The breakout performance of ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ might not have been assured, given the less-than-stellar recent results of some family movies,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore told CNN Business. “But the appeal Contained in a perfectly executed big-screen creation, the undisputed story of the bumbling Minions was the perfect cinematic hook for kids and parents alike.”

Now, theaters are hoping to keep the momentum going as they gear up for what could be one of the biggest movies of the year: “Thor: Love and Thunder.” The latest Marvel movie, starring Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, hits theaters this weekend.

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