SANDTON, SOUTH AFRICA, 13 July 2015—Universal Pictures and UIP South Africa today announced that Minions recorded the biggest opening weekend for any animated feature released on local soil by blabbering their way to an impressive R12 337 889. The previous record of R10 769 592, which was logged by Despicable Me 2 in 2013, was in itself part-minion.
In North America, Minions jabbered its way to a $115.7 million debut to claim the second-biggest opening weekend of all time for an animated title, not accounting for inflation. Internationally, where it began rolling out two weekends ago, the family title also placed No. 1 with $124.3 million from 56 markets for a gigantic foreign total of $287.8 million and a global cumulative of $403.5 million.
The US results include a $46.2 million Friday, the best opening day in history for an animated film. The victory is all the more sweet, considering Illumination Entertainment and Universal spent $74 million to make the Despicable Me prequel, a relatively modest number for an animated title. Shrek the Third ($122.5 million) continues to boast the biggest three-day debut of all time, while Minions beat out Toy Story 3 ($110.3 million). Only one other animated film, Shrek 2 ($108 million), has crossed $100 million in its first weekend.
“Audiences of all ages, and especially kids and families, just love these characters, and we had a tremendous marketing and merchandising effort,” said Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou. “We have now opened three movies this year to over $100 million — Minions, Furious 7 and Jurassic World — something no other studio has done in history.”
Internationally, Minions has scored the biggest opening for an animated title in 25 markets — including $12.2 million in France and $1 million in South Africa. That success was not born of nostalgia or fan loyalty for a brand created a long time ago. Minions was not meant to entertain adults nor was it a rehash of a previously popular kid-friendly property meant to capitalize on cross-generational interest. They are relatively new characters, created in 2010 by Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, and Sergio Pablos specifically for the young audiences who might be entertained by their slapstick antics in the original Despicable Me.
Even before the movie opened, Minions toys have already beaten play merchandise from another blockbuster movie, Frozen. According to Daily Mail, $1.7 million worth of Minions toys moved from store shelves to consumer hand last week, while sales of Frozen toys was at $1.1 million. If predictions are on track, Minions licensing and toy revenue will outpace Frozen’s retail offering by the end of 2016.