Box Office: Minions: The Rise of Gru Going Bananas With Projected $129.2 Million Independence Day Opening

It’s official —the Minions are back.

Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is setting off fireworks at the Fourth of July box office, projecting a $129.2 million opening over the four-day holiday weekend. On a three-day scale, the “Despicable Me” prequel looks to gross $109.4 million — that number would mark the highest domestic opening for an animated film since 2019’s “Frozen 2,” representing a huge bounce back for family-friendly films after lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illumination Entertainment production took off to an explosive $10.75 million in Thursday previews, initially setting projections for the long holiday weekend in the range of $65 million to $75 million.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” serves as both a sequel to 2015’s “Minions” and a prequel to “Despicable Me.” The film follows a 12-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) as he grows up in awe of a team of supervillains. Hankering to join them, Gru asks his sentient, overall-sporting pill creatures to sit on the sidelines for the job interview. Of course, things don’t quite work out as Gru expects them to. The voice cast also includes Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren and Danny Trejo.

Critics have generally met “The Rise of Gru” amicably, with the film scoring a 70% aggregate approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge quite enjoyed what he called a “delightfully silly sequel,” writing: “Six months into 2022, it’s the funniest film Hollywood has produced thus far. Audiences know what to expect, and Illumination delivers, offering another feel-good dose of bad behavior.”

More to come…

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