One animated movie is going to infinity and beyond this summer — but it's not Lightyear.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is having a massive opening weekend at the domestic box office, grossing $108.5 million through Sunday. The Despicable Me prequel is projected to make $127.9 million by the end of the four-day holiday weekend. That would set a new record for the biggest four-day Fourth of July opening of all time, beating Transformers: Dark of the Moon's $115 million in 2011.
The huge numbers were especially significant after another animated movie, Pixar's Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, was recently a box office disappointment, opening with $50 million. That raised questions about how eager families were to flock to the movies this summer and whether the pandemic may have gotten them used to watching animated films on streaming.
But this certainly didn't hold back The Rise of Gru, supporting the idea that Lightyear's box office troubles were specific to that film. The Rise of Gru's debut is the biggest for an animated movie during the pandemic era, and the largest since Frozen II in 2019. It continues a streak of strong summer openings after Top Gun: Maverick scored the biggest Memorial Day debut ever.
Notably, The Rise of Gru was also one of the last major movies that a studio postponed because of the pandemic, as it was originally scheduled for summer 2020. For Universal, the result was a box office haul that's anything but despicable.