Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 4’ Rules July 4th With $122M Opening, ‘MaXXXine’ Scares Up $6.7M

Illumination and Universal’s Minions franchise isn’t getting any worse for the wear as Despicable Me 4 ruled the Fourth of July box office with an estimated five-day domestic opening of $122.6 million from 4,428 theaters, including a three-day weekend haul of $75 million after earning a stellar A CinemaScore.

That’s in line with expectations and a strong start for the fourth outing in the main franchise, and the sixth in the Despicable Me/Minions series, which ranks as the top-grossing animated franchise of all time. Overseas, the newest movie has cleared $230 million.

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The first Despicable Me opened over the July 9-11 weekend in 2010 to $56 million domestically. The series then shifted its release earlier and became a Fourth of July staple. Likewise, 2013’s Despicable Me 2 opened July 3, a Wednesday, and posted a five-day debut of $143 million. That was followed by a $120 million five-day holiday start for the threequel in 2017.

In terms of the three-day weekend, Despicable Me 4’s gross of $75 million marks the highest July 4 opener since Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru collected $107 million in 2022, and the third-best of all time behind Gru and the $83 million earned by Despicable Me 2 over the holiday weekend in July 2017.

In Despicable Me 4, Gru — the world’s favorite supervillain turned Anti-Villain League agent voiced by Steve Carell — ushers in a new era of Minions mayhem as he, Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their girls (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Madison Pola) welcome a new son, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong), who is intent on tormenting his dad.

But Gru and his brood are forced to go on the run after facing off with a new nemesis voiced by Will Ferrell and his femme-fatale girlfriend (Sofía Vergara). Other new characters are voiced by Joey King, Stephen Colbert and Chloe Fineman, while Pierre Coffin returns as the iconic voice of the Minions, and Steve Coogan returns as Silas Ramsbottom.

Chris Renaud — co-creator of the Minions — directed the movie from a script by Mike White (The White Lotus) and Despicable Me veteran Ken Daurio. Patrick Delage co-directed, with Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri producing alongside Brett Hoffman.

The movie is the second back-to-back win for the animated family marketplace after Pixar and Disney’s Inside Out 2, which finally fell to No. 2 in its fourth weekend with an estimated three-day weekend gross of $30 million from 3,760 locations for a domestic gross $533.8 million — the third-best showing ever for an animated film in North America, not adjusted for inflation. Last weekend, it joined the billion-dollar club in global ticket sales in record time, or 19 days, after posting the biggest domestic debut of the year. And this weekend, it passed up Minions to rank No. 5 on the global list of top-grossing animated films with a cume of $1.217 billion, including $683.3 million overseas.

Inside Out 2 leads a pack of June releases that have resulted in dramatic box office rebound. Not so long ago, domestic office revenue was running 23 percent last year; now that deficit has been narrowed to 17 percent, according to Comscore.

Another movie assisting the mini-boom is Paramount’s A Quiet Place: Day One, which is holding at No. 3 in its second weekend with a three-day gross of $21 million for an impressive 10-day domestic tally of $94.4 million. The prequel scared up the loudest three-day debut of the series last weekend when opening to $52 million.

A24’s specialty pic MaXXXine, opening Friday, placed No. 4 with an estimated $6.7 million from 2,450 cinemas, which is not a bad start for a specialty slasher pic that boasts a hard R-rating. An ode to 1980s sexploitation and horror, MaXXXine completes Ti West’s trilogy starring Mia Goth. The movie received a B CinemaScore, a high grade for a horror/slasher film.

Sony’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die had enough gas left in the tank in its fifth outing to place No. 5 with $6.6 million from 2,664 sites for a hefty domestic tally of $177.4 million (it’s possible the pic could swap places with MaXXXine when final weekend grosses are tallied).

Kevin Costner’s big-budget Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter One, falling to No. 6, continues to struggle to find its audience. The $100 million period Western, which runs just over three hours, tumbled 50 percent in its second weekend to roughly $5.5 million from 3,325 theaters for a domestic total of $22.2 million. As of now, distributor Warner Bros. hasn’t mentioned how this might impact Costner’s sequel, which is set to open in cinemas on August

Last year, Utah-based studio Angel Studios made headlines when its film, Sound of Freedom, opened to $14.2 million July 4, enough to top the chart and beat the likes of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. By the end of the long holiday corridor, its domestic tally was north of $41 million. Angel Studios, supported in large part by faith-based moviegoers, isn’t replicating that success with this year’s Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot, an inspirational drama about a family that adopts 22 kids.

Possum Trot isn’t a sequel to Sound of Freedom, although both films earned a coveted A+ CinemaScore. Possum opened July 4 and earned a combined $4.7 million Wednesday and Thursday, according to Angel. For the weekend, it opened to $3.6 million to place No. 9, according to Comscore.

July 7, 7:30 a.m.: Updated with revised estimates.

This story was originally published July 6 at 9:24 a.m.

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