Minions: Rise of Gru

Credit Universal and Illumination Entertainment

Gru Rises While Lightyear’s Death Spiral Continues

One of the bigger battles for 2022 was going to be the two classic rivals Disney and Universal going up against each other in the arena of animated movies. Disney was set to roll out Pixar’s Lightyear marking Pixar’s triumphant return to movie theaters. Universal was going to counter with Illumination’s Minions: Rise of Gru. We finally get to compare the two and it is not even close. As always, I turn to the incredible The Numbers for the latest in box office projections.

One of the readily served up excuses by film insiders who got caught with their pants down over Lightyear bombing was that the pandemic had made the market for animation rather soft. Well, Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru has smashed that flimsy excuse to pieces. Minions: The Rise of Gru stormed to first place over the weekend by taking a projected $108 million at the domestic box office. Add to that an additional projected $93 million in the international box office and Minions: Rise of Gru comes in at a total box office of $221 million.

In its third week, Lightyear slumped into the sixth position in the weekend box office with a paltry projected $6.5 million in the domestic box office. This now brings Lightyear’s worldwide box office to $189 million. In just three days, Minions: Rise of Gru has blown away what Lightyear has made in three weeks. That is stunning. This is not the type of embarrassing loss that Pixar is used to experiencing.

For context, Pixar’s biggest bomb prior to Lightyear was The Good Dinosaur in 2015. The Good Dinosaur finished its theatrical run with a $333 million worldwide box office. Given Lightyear’s three-week performance in theaters, It does not appear that Lightyear has any chance of catching The Good Dinosaur. What a massive failure by Pixar.

After having the past three Pixar movies shunted straight to Disney+, it was incumbent upon Pixar to come out like a bat out of hell with their return to movie theaters. This was the moment for Pixar to remind all of the competition that Pixar is still the gold standard for animation. Instead, Pixar completely soiled its sheets in a spectacular fashion.

We already discussed why Lightyear bombed and how much money Disney was set to lose with this movie. Bob Chapek just got rewarded with a new three-year extension from the Disney Board of Directors. One of the first tasks on his to-do list should be to figure out what has gone wrong at Pixar.

Top Gun Maverick grabbed second place with a projected $25.5 million at the domestic box office. Tom Cruise’s blockbuster continues to amaze. This movie has legs that appear to never run out of steam. Top Gun: Maverick’s worldwide box office now sits at $1.1 billion. And that is without China and Russia. I hope that this movie’s success influences what kind of blockbusters studios roll out in the future.

Elvis took third place with a projected $19 million at the domestic box office. This was a good weekend for The King of Rock n Roll as this beat expectations.

Jurassic World: Dominion slid to fourth place with a projected $15.6 million at the domestic box office. I know this movie has been hammered with awful reviews. But, Jurassic World: Dominion is now at $838 million at the worldwide box office and has made money for Universal.

Rounding out the Top 5 sees The Black Phone in fifth place with a projected $12.3 million in the domestic box office. The budget for The Black Phone was just $18 million. The Black Phone currently has a worldwide box office of $76 million. Universal has to be extremely pleased with the performance of this movie.

The Battle of the Box Office has been fun to watch this summer. And it is going to crank up even more with the debut of Thor: Love and Thunder on July 7, 2022! It will be interesting to see if Marvel Studios can beat themselves and surpass Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at the worldwide box office.