Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 4’ Heads for Sparkly $120M July 4 Opening, ‘Inside Out 2’ Crosses $500M in U.S.

Gru and his mischievous minions are hoping to fulfill their patriotic duty and once again set off major fireworks at the Fourth of July box office.

Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me 4, which opened Wednesday in theaters across the U.S., posted an opening day gross of $27 million for an estimated five-day holiday debut of $120 million at the domestic box office, including $70 million for more for the three-day weekend, according to early returns. 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 combined ranks as the top-grossing animated franchise of all time.

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DM4 — earning a glowing A CinemaScore — will have no trouble wresting the box office crown from Pixar and Disney blockbuster Inside Out 2, which is now in its fourth weekend.

Even with the entry of DM4, however, don’t expect Inside Out 2 to get run off the road by the Minions. The Pixar blockbuster, which cleared the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales in record time after posting the biggest domestic debut of the year to date with $154 million, looks to earn $46 million or more over the five-day holiday frame. And sometime on Friday, the pic will become only the third animated film to cross $500 million in North America, not adjusted for inflation. Both films are good news for the animated family marketplace, which was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic but is now on the rebound.

The first Despicable Me opened over the July 9-11 weekend in 2010 to $56 million. The series then shifted its release earlier and became a Fourth of July staple. 2013’s Despicable Me 2 likewise opened on 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 the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, Gru — the world’s favorite supervillain-turned-Anti-Villain League-agent voiced by Steve Carell — ushers in 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., 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 from a script by Mike White (White Lotus) and Despicable Me veteran Ken Daurio. Patrick Delage co-directed, with Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri producing alongside Brett Hoffman.

Elsewhere, Paramount’s A Quiet Place: Day One is looking at a five-day haul of $31 million for a 10-day domestic tally of $96 million. The prequel scared up the loudest three-day debut of the series last weekend when opening to $52 million, not adjusted for inflation.

Sony’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die also has enough gas in the tank to hold at No. 4 and should finish Sunday with more than $175 million in North American ticket sales.

Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter One, which is expected to round out the top five, continues to struggle to find its audience. The big-budget period Western, which runs just over three hours, could fall more than 50 percent in its second weekend for a domestic total of not much more than $22 million. Unless, of course, traffic is heavier than expected as the holiday weekend unfolds.

July 4, 8:50 p.m.: Updated with revised estimates.

This story was originally published July 2 at 2:57 p.m.

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