Pulling its way out of the pandemic doldrums, the movie-theater business has seen Universal Pictures' "Minions: The Rise of Gru" posting the best North American July 4th weekend ever for a theatrical film debut -- $125.2 million over four days of box-office revenues, according to Comscore.
"Minions" topped Paramount's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which took in $115.9 million over four days in 2011.
"Minions" also dominated national TV theatrical marketing over the last two weeks, according to iSpot.tv, producing a massive 943.9 million impressions (2,591 equivalized 30-second commercial unit airings) -- nearly double that of its nearest competitor, Disney-Marvel’s "Thor: Love and Thunder" at 487.1 million, with 1,494 airings.
The big box-office holiday results bring more positive news for theatrical movie distributors. Through the pandemic-era period, starting in March 2020, "family" targeted animated movies -- a key theatrical genre -- have struggled, according to analysts.
For example, Disney's "Lightyear," a spinoff of the studio's popular “Toy Story” franchise, scored an underwhelming $50.6 million for its opening weekend three weeks ago (now at $106.7 million total). Most Pixar-produced Disney animated movies hit the $100 million mark about a week after release.
More on the positive side of things, Paramount's “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” -- which starts up April 8 -- opened with $72.1 million (now at $190.8 million domestically).
Better still, for the entire July 4th weekend, North American box-office sales totaled $191 million. This is the best result for an "Independence Day Weekend" since 2017, which then pulled in $239.3 million, topped by "Despicable Me 3" with a $99 million take, according to IMdb Box Office Mojo.
Strong overall results were boosted by Paramount's "Top Gun: Maverick," which is now in its sixth week, pulling in another $33 million -- just 11% lower than the previous week. Comscore says the movie has now topped $571.5 million among North American theater revenues -- the highest-grossing movie this year so far in North America.
Warner Bros.' “Elvis” was next with a healthy $23.5 million for its second week. Two more Universal movies followed: “Jurassic World: Dominion” ($19.7 million) and “The Black Phone” ($14.5 million).