Minions: The Rise Of Gru Scores Biggest July Fourth Opening Ever With Nearly $219 Million Globally

The July 4th holiday weekend has historically been a big one at the box office. That's how Will Smith made his name, with hits like "Independence Day" and "Men in Black" debuting over the fruitful holiday frame, turning him into a global superstar. The past couple of years haven't been nearly as fruitful in that department (for obvious reasons), but "Minions: The Rise of Gru" has entered the game, and the animated sequel has welcomed the holiday back with a vengeance. The animated prequel not only topped the box office, but amazingly enough, it also shattered the previous record for the weekend. Not only that, but several other big films such as "Elvis," "The Black Phone," and (still) "Top Gun: Maverick" also held well. Let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

Minions: The Rise of Gru exceeds expectations

According to Box Office Mojo, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" opened to a staggering $107 million domestically through Sunday and, when adding in the Monday holiday, it did $125.2 million worth of business in North America alone. That makes it the biggest July 4th opening weekend ever. The previous record was held by 2011's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" ($115.8 million). Yes, the Minions have triumphed over the Transformers in an impressive victory, to say the very least of it.

The picture only gets more impressive when taking the international numbers into account, with the fifth entry in the "Despicable Me" franchise taking in $93.7 million overseas, giving it a grand total of $218.9 million through the long weekend. That's sure to make Universal Pictures quite happy. It also ensures that family-friendly movies are very much primed for box office success, it's simply a matter of delivering something audiences want to see. 

Meanwhile Pixar's "Lightyear," fell another 64.9% this weekend with just $6.3 million and a $188.8 million global total. It's clear that relative failure was not due to marketplace conditions. It's a problem with that movie very specifically, which might have been a hole Disney dug for itself. Universal, meanwhile, won out by exercising patience and holding onto this movie for two full years. That patience was rewarded greatly.

Top Gun: Maverick leads a pack of impressive holdovers

In holdover news, "Top Gun: Maverick" finished in the number two spot with another $33 million through Monday. It dropped a mere 12.8% this weekend and its global total now stands at $1.11 billion with seemingly no end in sight. Just how high will this Tom Cruise sequel fly? That remains to be seen, but again, this movie was originally supposed to come out in 2020, and in exercising restraint, Paramount Pictures has won huge, likely having the top global grosser of the year on its hands. I imagine they are going to do just about anything they can to make "Top Gun 3" happen.

Director Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" also held quite well, pulling in $18.5 million through Sunday and $23.5 million when accounting for the holiday. It dropped just over 40%, signaling good word of mouth among audiences. At $118.3 million worldwide, it's still got a ways to go before reaching profit on an $85 million budget, but things are looking good, especially if it can get some Oscar love later this year. 

"Jurassic World Dominion" also held its own with $16 million in its fourth weekend, and $19.6 million when adding in Monday's grosses. The sixth entry in the dino-centric franchise now has $831.4 million to its name. Will it manage to get to $1 billion? It could be close, but it's looking good.

Rounding out the top five with another good hold is the very well-liked horror flick "The Black Phone" with $12.2 million, making for just a 48.3% drop, which is pretty good, especially when taking the competition into account. That total climbs to $14.4 million with the Monday numbers, as director Scott Derrickson's latest sits pretty at $77 million after its second weekend. Against a reported $18 million budget, that's excellent. Universal has yet another winner on its hands.

And the rest...

"Mr. Malcolm's List" was the only other wide, new release this weekend, and Bleeker Street's period drama simply couldn't hang with the rest of the heavy-hitters. The film earned a mere $1 million through Monday, putting it at number seven for the weekend. That means this one will have to hope for the VOD crowd to take notice, perhaps filling a need for the "Bridgerton" crowd. 

Meanwhile, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" increased its earnings by nearly 5% on its 15th weekend, adding $551,900 to the bank for a grand total of $91.4 million worldwide. Amazingly enough, if it keeps on marching, $100 million worldwide could be in reach. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" landed at number nine with $391,000 as its domestic run has petered out. It did, however, cross $951 million globally in what will likely be its final milestone, especially now that the movie is on Disney+.

Lastly, A24's critical darling "Marcel the Shell with Shoes on" expanded to 22 theaters and made $225,400 for a great $11,700 per-screen average. If the expansion continues to go well, this could end up being a sneaky little hit for the indie studio.

Looking ahead, Marvel takes another crack at it with "Thor: Love and Thunder" this Friday, which will all but certainly take the box office crown. It's just a matter of how much "Minions" can hold its own against the God of Thunder.