“Minions: The Rise of Gru” took over the U.S. box office, with Comscore data pointing to $109.5 million in ticket sales for the three-day weekend and $129.2 million forecasted for the four-day weekend from 4,391 theaters.
What Happened: The family-friendly feature from Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA Universal Pictures and the Illumination animation studio was a long time coming to theaters. A sequel to the 2015 “Minions” – which, itself, was a prequel to the “Despicable Me” franchise – was initially planned for the Fourth of July weekend in 2020 but was postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic closed theaters. It was rescheduled for July 2021, but Universal delayed it for another year to ensure there would be a maximum audience turnout.
It was certainly worth the wait, as no other film this weekend came close to challenging its dominance.
The year’s reigning box office champ, “Top Gun: Maverick” from Paramount PARAA, brought in $26.8 million for the three-day weekend from 3,843 theaters. Last week’s box office champ, “Elvis” from Warner Bros. WBD, generated $20.3 million from 3,932 theaters. And two other Universal films rounded out the top five: “Jurassic World Dominion” generated $16.1 million from 3,801 theaters and “The Black Phone” took in $11.9 million from 3,156 venues.
Variety noted that “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is on track to breaking the U.S. box office record for the highest Independence Day of all time – the previous record holder was Paramount’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” with $115.9 million over four days in 2011. The film has also tallied up $93.7 million from international markets.
What Happens Next: For the coming weekend, the major theatrical release is the latest installment in the Walt Disney Co.’s DIS Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise with Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Love and Thunder,” with a stellar cast including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Christian Bale.
Outside of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the other new films coming to theaters are mostly smaller productions in limited release. These include Epic Pictures’ Icelandic crime thriller with an LGBTQ angle “Cop Love,” Magnolia Pictures’ Manhattan-focused documentary “Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel” and IFC Films' presentation of Claire Denis’ “Both Sides of the Blade” starring Juliette Binoche.
Also Worth Noting: The Israeli government passed a $13 million tax rebate to encourage an increase in film and television production.
According to a Variety report, the rebate covers a two-year period and is worth $6.7 million in the first year and $6.4 million in the second year, with a plan to review the success of the program after two years for potential renewal.
The rebate covers narrative and nonfiction films and series with an investment between $145,000 and $4.8 million. Applicants for the rebate must be made through an Israeli production company and will be judged by a committee before funds are allocated.
Historically, Israel has been a relatively small player in the global film and television market due to its relatively limited output. And while some Israeli creative talent including actor Chaim Topol and producers Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus achieved success in Hollywood, few Israeli films have made a commercial impact outside of their country.
Ten Israeli films have been nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar, but the country has yet to win the celebrated prize. Israeli filmmaker Moshe Mizrahi’s “Madame Rosa” won the Foreign Language Oscar for 1976, but the film was France’s submission for the award – his Israeli-made films “I Love You Rosa” (1972) and “The House on Chelouche Street” (1973) were Oscar nominated but did not win.
More recently, Israel’s presence has been noted with popular series “Homeland” and “In Treatment” being adapted from the Israeli series “Hatufim” and “BeTipul,” respectively, while original productions including “Fauda” and “Shtisel” were widely seen via Netflix NFLX.
Photo of "Minions: The Rise of Gru" courtesy of Universal
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