What the Latest Minions Movie Tells Us About Family Friendly Films
Drawing Up a Winner
This past weekend, Minions: The Rise of Gru (CMCSA) grossed $107 million domestically. It marked the strongest opening for an animated-feature film since the start of the pandemic. The next closest, Paramount Global’s (PARA) Sonic the Hedgehog 2, opened to $72.1 million in domestic receipts.
The latest addition to the “Minions/Despicable Me” franchise represents a major accomplishment for Hollywood, and one that differs from other success stories in 2022. Broadly speaking, long-awaited superhero films and the action megahit Top Gun: Maverick have dominated the box office. Minions: The Rise of Gru is one of the first flicks that has been able to bring kids and families back to theaters en masse.
After Pixar Animation Studios’ Lightyear (DIS) disappointed in its opening weekend, some industry observers openly wondered if family-friendly films would recover more slowly in comparison to those marketed toward older audiences. Streaming played a major role in this thinking. Parents know they can get most movie titles almost instantaneously without having to organize a trip to the local theater.
There’s a sense the latest “Minions/Despicable Me” film suggests otherwise. Parents likely still see the upside of taking kids to the movies. At home distractions abound, with cell phones and tablets likely to divert attention. Cultural historians note movie theaters are immersive experiences with the ability to better captivate young minds.
There are factors unique to Minions: The Rise of Gru that should be considered when evaluating the state of films and what brings certain demographics out to theaters. As the fifth installment in the franchise, its audience and brand are well established. Also, NBCUniversal organized a yearslong promotional campaign that took advantage of other company assets.
Moreover, the Fourth of July weekend offered little competition in terms of family friendly films targeted at kids. Batman and Spider-Man put people in the seats this year, as did “Minions.” Movie theaters hope that’s a trend beyond just the popularity of individual characters.
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