Box Office: ‘Minions’ opens bigger than ‘Despicable Me 2’ with $115.2 million

One slight stumble with “Ted 2” aside and it's been quite the year for Universal Studios.  The Comcast division delivered its third $100 million opener this past weekend with “Minions.” It joins “Furious 7,” “Jurassic World” and Disney's “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as the only $100 million plus openers this year.  For comparison's sake, there were only two debuts to hit that number in all of 2014.

As for “Minions,” the “Despicable Me” franchise spin-off earned a spectacular $115.2 million over the three-day frame.  That's a significantly bigger debut than “Despicable Me 2” which opened to $83.5 million two years ago. It's also a larger first weekend than Pixar's critically acclaimed (and Best Picture nominee possibility) which found $90.4 million just three weeks ago.  With an “A” Cinemascore it would be surprising if “Minions” didn't earn at least $300 million domestic when all is said and done.  Globally it's already made $395.7 million

Holding steady at no. 2 was another Universal title, “Jurassic World.”  The Chris Pratt blockbuster found took in another $18.1 million for an astounding $590.6 million so far.  At this point, “Jurassic” should surpass the $623.3 million “Marvel's The Avengers” earned in 2012 sometime next weekend.  What will be the next film on the all-time list to fall? Just a little film called “Titanic” which has held the no. 2 slot since 2008 with $658 million.  Whether “Jurassic World” can come close to “Avatar's” $760.5 million gross at no. 1 though still emains to be seen.

Dropping from the top spot last weekend to no. 3 was the aforementioned “inside Out.” The Pixar hit took in another $17.1 million for $283.6 million to date.  It's worldwide cume currently stands at superb $435.4 million.

“Terminator Genisys” fell 49% from its first weekend for another $13.7 million and $68.7 million in just 12 days.  The Paramount Pictures and Skydance production has earned $224.8 million around the world so far.  It will need those international markets to pick up if it's going to come close to breaking even theatrically.

Newcomer “The Gallows” may have received terrible reviews, but the Warner Bros. horror flick scared up $10 million for fifth place.  Warner Bros. and New Line acquired the independently made film for substantially more than its $100,000 production budget, but should still earn a tidy profit from the endeavor.

The weekend's other major new release, “Self/less,” had low expectations for distributor Gramercy Pictures (the genre label of Focus Features) but it still became one of the biggest bombs of the summer earning just $5.3 million on 2,353 screens.  Star Ryan Reynolds can sleep better knowing one of his next projects, “Deadpool,” stole the show at Comic Con on Saturday evening.

It's important to point out that “Magic Mike XXL” had the smallest drop from weekend to weekend of any film in the top 10 at just 25% (“Inside Out” was 42%).  That's good evidence that the audience for the stripper sequel, which placed sixth, were distracted by family or holiday obligations over the July Fourth weekend and that contributed to its disappointing debut.

It's also worth worth noting “Spy” crossed the $100 million mark and currently has a U.S. tally of $103.4 million.  That makes it director Paul Feig's third $100 million grosser in a row and the fourth of Melissa McCarthy's career as a lead actress.

New movies hitting theaters this Friday include an intriguing showdown between Marvel's “Ant-Man” and Amy Schumer's “Trainwreck.”

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