‘Minions: Rise of Gru’ box office projections much higher than ‘Lightyear’

Published : 29 Jun 2022 07:58 PM


Minions: The Rise of Gru is projected to gross $70 million in its opening weekend, much higher than Disney Pixar's Lightyear, which fell short of expectations. The Rise of Gru is the fifth installment in Illumination's popular Despicable Me franchise, which centers on the Steve Carrell-voiced Gru and his tiny yellow henchmen known as Minions. As the second installment in the spin-off prequel series after 2015's Minions, The Rise of Gru is set during the 1970s as 12-year-old Felonius Gru plots to join the supervillain team known as the Vicious 6.

Released in theaters earlier this month on June 17, Lightyear provides a definitive origin story for the titular astronaut who inspired the toy of the same name voiced by Tim Allen in the Toy Story film series. Though Lightyear was expected to be a triumphant return to theaters for the prestige animation studio that had released its past three films on Disney+ much to the chagrin of Pixar employees, the Toy Story spinoff was a rare box office bomb for the studio, falling well short of expectations with a $51 million opening weekend. To date, Lightyear has grossed just $153 million against a $200 million production budget.

Minions: The Rise of Gru will be the next animated movie to test the waters of the post-pandemic box office and now, the first projections are in. Per Variety, the Despicable Me spinoff is primed for a first-place finish at the box office over the upcoming July 4 weekend. It is expected to rake in anywhere from $65 to $75 million domestically during the extended four-day holiday weekend.

The Despicable Me franchise has been a reliable cash cow for Illumination and Universal Pictures over the past decade. Earning over $3.7 billion globally, it holds the highly coveted place as the highest-grossing animated film franchise ahead of Shrek, Ice Age, and Toy Story, all of which also consist of five installments each. Rise of Gru is now expected to continue the franchise's hot streak with a strong $70 million opening weekend. But to help put that figure in perspective, it would be the franchise's lowest debut since 2010's Despicable Me scored $56 million before becoming a massive word-of-mouth hit.