Last week was a winner for exhibitors, as MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU had the highest-grossing 4th of July weekend in box office history. This result allayed concerns over the potential in the post-pandemic market for family films, fueled by the disappointing performance of Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR.
Pixar’s first theatrical release since the pandemic was only able to generate $51M in its opening weekend, followed by a decline of over 60% in its second weekend. At the time, some analysts concluded that some families were still hesitant to return to theatres. However, MINIONS’ success disproved that theory and suggests that LIGHTYEAR’s problems might be more specific to the film, and perhaps a downturn at Disney in general.
Looking back, success with families was apparent with titles such as Paramount’s SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 and Sony’s GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE. Universal has had a particularly strong slate of animated winners, from SING 2 to THE BAD GUYS and now MINIONS 2. GRU held up strong in its second week, including a surprising buzz with teenage and GEN-X moviegoers, some of whom are attending screenings to participate in the #GentleMinions TikTok trend.
Disney has lost ground in the theatrical market for animated features, in part due to its decision to release its new animated features exclusively on Disney+ during the pandemic.