‘Minions’ takes down ‘Toy Story 3,’ wins weekend box office

13 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Minions’ dominates with $115.2 million debut.

Minions held dominion at the box office over the weekend, to the tune of an estimated $115-million. The Universal and Illumination Entertainment spin-off to Despicable Me just missed the domestic record set by Shrek the Third’s $121.6 million kickoff in 2007, while continuing animation maestro Chris Meledandri’s hot streak at the multiplexes.Universal Pictures’ “Minions” now holds the record of the all-time biggest opening weekend for an animation title after grossing a spectacular P189-million in five days (July 8 to 12).LOS ANGELES — Minions, which this weekend scored the second biggest opening ever for an animated feature, is just the latest hit from Universal Pictures in a year that has overflowed with breakouts and blockbusters. What makes Meledandri so valuable to studios is that he keeps budgets low. cost $74 million to produce, a modest number considering that Pixar and DreamWorks Animation routinely spend north of $100 million on their animated features. “I’m not sure the public is mindful of what films cost, they’re more concerned with how they resonate,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “Chris is able to produce films that speak to families, to children, to people everywhere.” The studio left nothing to chance when it came to reminding moviegoers why the loved the nattering, mischievous, highlighter-hued critters.

Thanks to the Despicable Me spinoff, Pitch Perfect 2 and Jurassic World, Universal tops all of its rivals in terms of market share, and is likely to be the first studio in history to field three films that top US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) globally in a single year. Universal partnered with the likes of Snapchat, McDonald’s, and Amazon to deliver nearly $600 million in publicity and promotions, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. What followed is a succession of daily demolished records: biggest Thursday (P22.9-M), biggest Friday (P32-M), biggest Saturday (P58.9-M) and biggest Sunday (P52.2-M). The studio’s remarkable run is in marked contrast to five years ago, when Universal was mired in last place among the six major Hollywood players, weighed down by costly disappointments such as The Green Zone and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Fourth to tenth rankings are claimed by SM Mall of Asia (P6-M), Glorietta 4 (P4-M), Greenbelt 3 (P3.7-M), Alabang Town Center (P3.7-M), SM Cebu (P3.5-M), SM Dasmarinas (P3.2-M) and Eastwood (P3-M).

Its hard climb back to the top is a reminder that, just as Nathaniel Hawthorne famously said of American families, studios are always rising and falling in Hollywood. Internationally, the movie has grossed $280.5 million so far. “Given that they seek to work for the most evil people on the planet, they give off this incredible happiness,” said Duncan Clark, Universal’s president of international distribution. “I think the quality they’re proving to have is a common denominator appeal across all cultures.” Only DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek The Third” opened to a bigger gross in North America in 2007, with $121.6 million, according to Rentrak. “Minions” beat out Disney’s “Toy Story 3,” which took in $110.3 million on its opening weekend in 2010. Going into 2015, most analysts believed the big story would be Disney, which finally would see major releases from each of its three Tiffany brands – Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.

The horror thriller, The Gallows, finished fifth with $10-million, while the science fiction thriller, Self/Less, took in $5-million, good for eighth place. Other studios have created successful spinoffs, such as DreamWorks’ “Shrek” side story from 2011, “Puss in Boots.” There are also the multi-layered spinoffs in Disney’s Marvel universe, including “Ant-Man,” which opens next weekend. Market! (P2.9-M), Robinsons Magnolia (P2.8-M), Bonifacio High Street (P2.8-M), Power Plant (P2.8-M), SM Southmall (P2.8-M), Fairview Terraces (P2.7-M), SM Baguio (P2.7-M), Shang Cineplex (P2.6-M), SM Marikina (P2.6-M), Ayala Cebu (P2.6-M) and Greenhills Promenande (P2.6-M). “With anything that opens to over $100 million, you breach all demographics,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “The Minions are the stars of the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise…kids love them, teens love them, and adults love them.” In recent months, there’s been a lot of celebrating taking place on the Universal lot. The studio is the leader in market share thanks to hits like “Pitch Perfect 2″ and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and has two films that have crossed $1 billion at the global box office with “Furious 7″ and “Jurassic World.”

Ahead of “Minions,” Universal showed a trailer from a release for next summer, “The Secret Life of Pets,” which explores what pets do when their owners leave them at home unattended. Universal’s successes show that there are alternatives out there for studios not looking to raid the outer recesses of the graphic novel and comic-book world in the hopes of competing. Moreover, Universal has wisely mixed in other types of movies, such as erotic bestseller adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey and rap biopic Straight Outta Compton to augment its tentpole releases. Entertainment 360 and Blumhouse Productions backed the picture about a high school play gone terribly, terribly wrong… and not in that teenagers putting on The Crucible kind of way. Warner Bros executives say the film is a modestly priced single, but was an important showcase for writers and directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. “We’re cultivating young filmmakers and giving them a chance to grow and prosper,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president. “These are really sharp guys, who have a long career in front of them.” Minions also took a chunk out of some of the turbo-charged blockbusters still kicking around cinemas.

Other movies debuting in the Top 10 this past weekend were “The Gallows,” an ad-libbed high-school horror movie from Blumhouse Productions, the creator of the “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious” franchises, and “Self/less,” a sci-fi thriller about a near-death billionaire who transmits himself into a younger body. Jurassic World slid 54% to $18.1 million, bringing its Stateside haul to $590.6 million, while Inside Out dipped 43% to $17.1 million, pushing its domestic total to $283.6 million. Ted 2 left audiences cold, and it’s unlikely that Blackhat and Seventh Son, two bombs the studio distributed for its financial partner Legendary, will be featured in any sizzle reels going forward. Universal managed to find the right tone in its black and white posters and promotional materials, promising fans a last ride with a star they loved and making a movie about driving fast with no repercussions – a moving testament to a man who, after all, died in a racing accident. “They’ve taken already strong titles and nurtured them in a way that allowed them to shatter expectations,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com. “Look at what they do on Facebook and Twitter.

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