Despicable Me 4 Rules The July 4th Weekend As Animation Continues To Buoy The Summer 2024 Box Office

 Gru (Steve Carell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and Gru Jr. in Despicable Me 4.
Credit: Illumination Entertainment

The writing was on the wall for months that the summer 2024 box office was going to be slower than normal. The Hollywood labor battles last year forced significant changes to the release schedule, making it a challenge for the film industry to put together a follow-up to the season that brought us Barbenheimer. In the last couple of months, things have been tough... but it's animation that has been the big savior, with the three-week success of Kelsey Mann's Inside Out 2 being followed by a big opening weekend for Chris Renaud and Patrick Delage's Despicable Me 4.

The new release from Illumination Entertainment and Pixar dominated the domestic Top 10 this weekend. Check out the full chart below and join me after for analysis.

Despicable Me 4 July 5-7, 2024 Weekend Box Office
Despicable Me 4 July 5-7, 2024 Weekend Box Office

Despicable Me 4 Earns Over $200 Million Worldwide Across The Holiday Weekend

It's hardly a surprise that the latest entry in the Despicable Me franchise has been deemed a box office success. Fourteen years ago, the first movie in the franchise earned $544.7 million during its global box office run, and sequels have only seen ticket sales balloon from there – with every sequel and spinoff making at least $900 million worldwide. At present, it's tricky to predict exactly how the latest film in the hit animated series will ultimately compare to its predecessors, but one thing that's undeniable is that the movie is off to a great start (per The Numbers).

Much like how we regularly see new titles from Marvel Studios during the first week of May, Illumination Entertainment has found a nice home for the Despicable Me franchise around the July 4th holiday, and it seems to be a case of simply not messing with success. Despicable Me 4 isn't off to the greatest start we've seen from the canon (that record belongs to Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda's Minions, which made $145.5 million domestically in five days), but it has already made $122.6 million, which is obviously not too shabby.

As far as the three-day weekend is concerned, it's the fourth biggest opening of 2024 thus far behind Adam Wingard's Godzilla x King: The New Empire ($80 million), Denis Villeneuve's Dune: Part Two ($82.5 million) and Inside Out 2 ($154.2 million). That being said, its numbers are already big enough to make it the seventh most successful domestic release of the year, as it has taken just five days to outgross films like Gil Kenan's Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire and John Krasinski's IF.

The reaction to the movie has been mixed, with critics' opinions about Despicable Me 4 ranging from "incompetent" to "passable," but audiences seem to still be enjoying themselves watching the new installment from the long-running franchise. CinemaScore surveys delivered an "A" grade, which matches the results received for the first two movies in the series.

Maxime (Will Ferrell) and Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me 4
Maxime (Will Ferrell) and Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me 4

According to Forbes, Despicable Me 4 wasn't exactly made with independent film money, reportedly costing $100 million to make, but the blockbuster should already be getting into the black when factoring in grosses worldwide (as well as publicity and marketing costs). The $122.6 million the feature has made in the United States and Canada combined with the money its made from foreign territories brings its worldwide box office to date up to $229.6 million.

It has a long way to go before it starts having income that compares with the ticket sales of the previous Despicable Me and Minions titles, but the good news for the film is that there are no another high-profile family movies coming out for the rest of July (Shawn Levy's Deadpool & Wolverine is going to be a hit, but it sports an R-rating). The big question regarding its future is how it will co-exist with Inside Out 2, and so far, things are going well.

Inside Out 2 Co-Existing And Thriving Alongside Despicable Me 4

In my last couple box office columns, I've acknowledged the incredible success of Inside Out 2, but also expressed curiosity regarding how the film would perform while playing simultaneously on the big screen with Despicable Me 4. After all, the two blockbusters target the same core demographic (a.k.a. children), and that's a demographic well-known for short attention spans and being lured to the new big thing. There was a possibility that the arrival of the Illumination title could have spelled trouble for the Pixar hit... but that's not the way that things are playing out.

Instead of seeing its ticket sales plummet, the box office performance for Inside Out 2 only dipped 48 percent weekend-to-weekend, and the film added another $30 million to its domestic total (of note, Michael Sarnoski's A Quiet Place: Day One fell 60 percent, which allowed the animated sequel from June to move down to just second place four weekends into its release). To date, the Pixar movie is far and away the biggest feature of 2024 released in the United States and Canada, now having made $533.8 million (it's nearly doubled the $282.1 million that Dune: Part Two made in the spring).

So far, Inside Out 2 has made $1.2 billion worldwide, which is enough to make it the sixth biggest blockbuster released since theaters reopened in 2021. It has already made more than Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World: Dominion ($1 billion) and it needs to make about $145 million to surpass the earnings of Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic's The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($1.4 billion).

Looking ahead to next week, Despicable Me 4 and Inside Out 2 are expected to continue dominating the box office, but it will be interesting to see how the arrival of Greg Berlanti's Fly Me To The Moon starring Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum shakes up the Top 10. Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to read about the results, and you can plan out your own next trip to the movie theater with out 2024 Movie Release Calendar.