2022's Excellent Blockbuster Summer Keeps Rolling As Minions: The Rise Of Gru Crushes At The Weekend Box Office

Minions in Minions: The Rise Of Gru
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

At the start of the year, box office returns inspired a great deal of trepidation and fear. While Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home was a billion dollar global hit, industry experts continued to worry about the viability of movies in theaters and the draw of the big screen in 2022 with no end to the pandemic in sight. Now, half the year is over, and film fans everywhere have reason to celebrate thanks to the release of yet another summer hit – specifically Kyle Balda's Minions: The Rise Of Gru.

Released this past Friday, the Illumnination Entertainment feature had one hell of an opening weekend, and you can check out its numbers below. Scope out the Top 10 , and then join me after for analysis!

Minions: The Rise Of Gru Weekend Box Office July 1-3, 2022 CinemaBlend

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)
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1. Minions: The Rise Of Gru$108,510,000 $108,510,000 Row 0 - Cell 3 4,391
2. Top Gun: Maverick$25,540,000 $564,015,367 23,843
3. Elvis$19,000,000 $67,320,011 13,932
4. Jurassic World: Dominion$15,650,000 $331,814,935 33,801
5. The Black Phone$12,300,000 $47,464,325 43,156
6. Lightyear$6,574,000 $105,362,663 53,800
7. Mr. Malcolm’s List$851,853 $851,853 Row 6 - Cell 3 1,384
8. Everything Everywhere All At Once$551,974 $67,015,157 8607
9. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness$390,000 $410,541,349 6590
10. Jugjugg Jeeyo$320,000 $1,540,000 7150

Minions: The Rise Of Gru Is Hollywood's Latest Nine-Figure Hit

One of modern Hollywood's most prominent bars for success is a film having a $100 million opening weekend, and while these kinds of big wins haven't exactly been super plentiful in 2022 over all, they're now coming out in bunches. Of the five films this year that have reached that key benchmark, four of them have come out in the last three months. (The lone exception is Matt Reeves' The Batman, which was released in early March)

The brilliant streak of hit blockbusters started in the first week of May with the arrival of Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness ($187.4 million), and a few weeks later it continued with the incredible hit that is Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick ($126.7 million). Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World: Dominion ($145.1 million) kept the party going in early June, and now Minions: The Rise Of Gru ($108.5 million) has kept the good times rolling (via The Numbers).

Of course, Minions: The Rise Of Gru being a financial win is not exactly all that surprising, given that the film is part of one of the biggest animation franchises on the planet. What does get one to scratch their head, however, is looking at the film's winning numbers compared to Angus McLane's Lightyear. The Pixar feature was just released last month in the wake of Jurassic World: Dominion, and it had to settle for second place and a $50.6 million domestic take. (For reference, Josh Cooley's Toy Story 4 brought in $120.9 million in its first three days).

Young Gru with Minions in Minions: The Rise of Gru

(Image credit: Illumination Entertainment)

There is a lot of minutia to dig through in regards to why Minions: The Rise Of Gru is a hit and Lightyear is underwhelming at the box office, but the more significant curiosity here in trying to figure out how it will influence studio thinking about theatrical releases aimed at younger audiences. 

There has been some hesitancy from the film industry as creating more streaming options for families has seemingly worked out well (example: Disney releasing Soul, Luca, and Turning Red as Disney+ exclusives), but now one wonders if the tide might be starting to turn. Lightyear may not be making big bucks – perhaps because potential audiences are just waiting for its streaming release – but Minions: The Rise Of Gru is now the second big animated hit of the year following Pierre Perifel's The Bad Guys (which was another number one hit and has raked in $244.4 million globally to date).

Minions: The Rise Of Gru only performed modestly worse than its predecessor, which made $115.7 million across its first three days when it began playing in theaters in July 2015. Ultimately that movie went on to bring in $336 million domestically and $1.16 billion globally for Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures. We'll have to wait and see if the follow-up will be able to reach similar heights – if not especially because there are so many other big film playing right now, and some notable titles coming up on the 2022 movie release calendar

The July 4th holiday will certainly do it some favors, as one expects families around the country to perhaps take in an afternoon screening of the animated feature before going to the local park at night to watch a fireworks display.

Now A Billion Dollar Hit, Top Gun: Maverick Just Continues To Soar Higher And Higher

It was extremely clear from the very beginning of Top Gun: Maverick's run at the box office that it was going to be a ridiculous hit. After all, it utterly shattered Tom Cruise's personal opening weekend record, and he is universally considered to be one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. There was no surprise last week when the film surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, and as you can see from this weekend's Top 10, it continues to be exceptionally popular.

For some context, the $25.5 million brought in by the movie over the last three days is a sum that would rank a title in 14th place among domestic opening in 2022 (the year now being half over)... but Top Gun: Maverick is now entering its sixth week of release. That sum also only marks just a 14 percent weekend-to-weekend dip, as it made $29.6 million while squaring off against Baz Luhrmann's Elvis at the end of June.

As noted in the first half of this column, we are now starting to see more and more big box office wins in 2022, but Top Gun: Maverick's success feels particularly special just because of the experience that the blockbuster legacy sequel delivers in cinemas. This is a film that is designed to blow your hair back with stunning visuals on a giant, pristine screen and sound blasting from a ceiling full of speakers, and its ticket sales suggest recognition of that. It's showing us that audiences do very much still understanding the tremendous power of the theatrical experience, which was something that was in doubt when COVID-19 forced everyone to primarily depend on home video/streaming content for more than a year.

Elvis Has A Solid Second Weekend – Slipping In Rank, But  Still Making Bank

Like Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis also demonstrated some excellent box office durability in the last three days, though it's perhaps not as pretty on paper. When the smoke cleared on last week's Top 10 and the final numbers were reported, the Austin Butler-starring biopic was sitting in the lead spot ahead of Tom Cruise's latest ($31.2 million vs. $29.6 million). The released fell to #3 earning an estimated $19 million since Friday – but that's only a dip of 39 percent.

There probably isn't much crossover between the audiences for Elvis and Minions: The Rise Of Gru, so the latter probably didn't steal ticket sales away from the former, but that makes its performance no less impressive. Based on what we see here, it looks like this could be a title that sticks around in the back half of the Top 10 all the way through to the end of August.

Keeping on the subject of predictions, it's all but guaranteed that we'll be getting a new Number One Movie In America next week, as Taika Waititi's Thor: Love And Thunder has been building buzz and will be unleashed in theaters this Friday, July 8. How will it do compared to Marvel Studios' other most recent hits? Be sure to check out CinemaBlend's box office column when it goes live on the site next Sunday to find out.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.