Minions is tops

 A boy watching the Minions movie at the Cascade Drive-In theatre in West Chicago, Illinois.
A boy watching the Minions movie at the Cascade Drive-In theatre in West Chicago, Illinois. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Minions ruled the weekend box office, chalking up US$115.2 million (S$155.6 million) in North America for the second- biggest animated film opening in history.

The Universal Pictures spin-off to the Despicable Me movie franchise just missed the domestic record set by Shrek The Third's US$121.6 million kick-off in 2007, while continuing animation maestro Chris Meledandri's hot streak at the multiplexes.

What makes him so valuable to studios is that he keeps budgets low. Minions cost US$74 million to produce, about half the cost of recent offerings from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. The film collected an extra US$280.5 million overseas.

While not technically a sequel, Minions improved on the opening- weekend total delivered by Despicable Me 2 in 2013 by nearly 40 per cent.

In recent months, there have been many celebrations on the Universal lot. The studio is the leader in market share, thanks to hits such as Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades Of Grey, and has two films that have crossed US$1 billion at the global box office with Furious 7 and Jurassic World.

Minions was such a behemoth that two newcomers, Focus Features' Self/Less and Warner Bros' The Gallows, risked getting washed away.

Producer Jason Blum's latest spine-tingler The Gallows, about a high school play gone terribly wrong, collected an estimated US$10 million. The good news: It cost less than US$2 million to make.

Self/Less, a science-fiction thriller about a radical medical procedure, collected about US$5.4 million. It cost about US$26 million to make. It is the latest film fumble for its star Ryan Reynolds, who is still labouring to get out from under massive flops The Green Lantern (2011) and R.I.P.D (2013).

Jurassic World was No. 2, taking in US$18.1 million for a five-week domestic total of US$590.7 million, according to Rentrak, which compiles box-office data.

Disney-Pixar's Inside Out sold about US$17.1 million in tickets for a four-week North American total of US$283.6 million.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Minions is tops'. Print Edition | Subscribe