‘Minions’ takes No. 1 spot on week­end

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT/TV - LOS AN­GE­LES

Uni­ver­sal's “Minions” over­ran the box of­fice over the week­end as au­di­ences in the U. S. and Canada shelled out an es­ti­mated $115.2 mil­lion to see the evil- master- serv­ing horde frolic on the big screen.

It was the sec­ond- big­gest open­ing ever for an an­i­mated film and an easy win for the side­kicks who took the spotlight af­ter play­ing sup­port­ing roles in two pre­vi­ous “De­spi­ca­ble Me” movies.

The bright, bab­bling baldies have be­come key char­ac­ters in the fran­chise from Uni­ver­sal's Il­lu­mi­na­tion En­ter­tain­ment.

Di­rected by Peter Cof­fin, who co-di­rected both “De­spi­ca­ble Me” movies and voices the Minions, the movie easily beat “Juras­sic World,” another Uni­ver­sal pic­ture that grossed $18.1 mil­lion in its fifth week­end af­ter re­lease, ac­cord­ing to box of­fice tracker Ren­trak.

Dis­ney's “In­side Out” ranked third with $ 17.1 mil­lion in its fourth week­end.

“Minions” was a hit over­seas as well, tak­ing the No. 1 spot in 29 of the 30 other coun­tries in which it de­buted over the week­end, in­clud­ing Mexico, Rus­sia, France and Venezuela. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the movie grossed $280.5 mil­lion.

“Given that they seek to work for the most evil peo­ple on the planet, they give off this in­cred­i­ble hap­pi­ness,” said Dun­can Clark, Uni­ver­sal's pres­i­dent of in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion.

“I think the qual­ity they're prov­ing to have is a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor ap­peal across all cul­tures.”

Only DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion's “Shrek The Third” opened to a big­ger gross in North Amer­ica in 2007, with $ 121.6 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Ren­trak. “Minions” beat out Dis­ney's “Toy Story 3,” which took in $ 110.3 mil­lion on its open­ing week­end in 2010.

Paul Der­garabe­dian, Ren­trak's se­nior media an­a­lyst, said the Minions cap­tured most of the buzz among “De­spi­ca­ble Me” fans from the start.

“It's al­ways been about these crazy, ir­rev­er­ent, funny char­ac­ters,” Der­garabe­dian said.

Other stu­dios have cre­ated suc­cess­ful spinoffs, such as DreamWorks' “Shrek” side story from 2011, “Puss in Boots.” There are also the multi- lay­ered spinoffs in Dis­ney's Marvel uni­verse, in­clud­ing “Ant- Man,” which opens next week­end.

“It seems like a fore­gone con­clu­sion there will be more ' Minions' be­cause of the mil­lions they made,” Der­garabe­dian said.

Uni­ver­sal is plan­ning to un­leash “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3” in the sum­mer of 2017 and plans a gag­gle of other films by Il­lu­mi­na­tion En­ter­tain­ment. Led by chair­man Christo­pher Meledan­dri, the an­i­mated movie stu­dio has be­come one of Hol­ly­wood's most suc­cess­ful.

Ahead of “Minions,” Uni­ver­sal showed a trailer from a re­lease for next sum­mer, “The Se­cret Life of Pets,” which ex­plores what pets do when their own­ers leave them at home unat­tended. It's also plan­ning to re­lease a hol­i­day 2017 ver­sion of Dr. Seuss' “Grinch.”

AP PHOTO

In this im­age re­leased by Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures, char­ac­ters, from left, Stu­art, Bob, Kevin and Scar­let Overkill, voiced by San­dra Bul­lock, ap­pear in a scene from the an­i­mated fea­ture, “Minions.’’

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