"Minions: The Rise of Gru" will be another key summer box office test.
The next installment of the "Despicable Me" franchise, which already nabbed the best previews for an animated movie of the pandemic era, with $10.75 million in domestic ticket sales on Thursday, is widely expected to secure a $116.6 million 4-day holiday opening, a $98.7 million 3-day after a $43 million opening day (including yesterday's $10.75 million), with possibly more room to run, Deadline reports.
Box Office Pro adds it could easily see the film earning $100 million-plus, citing Thursday's strong preview results. The site noted that "Minions" now has the highest preview gross for an animated film since 2019's "The Lion King" remake and that same summer's "Toy Story 4" (and the best of all time for a non-Disney/non-Pixar animated release.)
The film will also test the role of family-friendly flicks at the box office following "Lightyear's" dismal debut last month amid controversy surrounding a same-sex kissing scene.
The Chris Evans–led spinoff (which cost $200 million to produce) dropped a whopping 65% in its second weekend of release, ending its tenth day in theaters with just $89 million domestically after opening during the long Juneteenth weekend.
But "Minions" should not have too much to worry about given Thursday's previews.
Plus, "there's a lot of pent-up demand for animated films and for family films," said Geetha Ranganathan, senior media analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, signaling even more potential strength.
'Minions' to face 'Maverick'
"Minions" will have some tough competition after a strong opening from Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" and the continued success of "Top Gun: Maverick."
The sequel to the 1986 classic has smashed records since its Memorial Day Weekend debut — garnering more than $1 billion globally, despite not airing in Russia and China.
"Maverick" ended its fifth week at the domestic box office with $47.2 million at 3,948 locations, adding to its grand total of $538.5 million to date.
"I am afraid to put a ceiling on ['Maverick'] because it keeps accelerating and going higher and higher. It's an amazing achievement," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, previously told Yahoo Finance.
"Maverick" marks Tom Cruise's first $1 billion film, in addition to the first film of the year to reach that ten-digit milestone (and only the second in the COVID-era behind "Spider-Man: No Way Home.")
Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at email@example.com