"Minions" ruled the weekend box office, racking up a massive $115.2 million in North America, for the second biggest animated film opening in history.
The Universal and Illumination Entertainment spin-off to "Despicable Me" just missed the domestic record set by "Shrek the Third's" $121.6 million kickoff in 2007, while continuing animation maestro Chris Meledandri's hot streak at the multiplexes. What makes Meledandri so valuable to studios is that he keeps budgets low. "Minions" cost $74 million to produce, a modest number considering that Pixar and DreamWorks Animation routinely spend north of $100 million on their animated features.
The studio left nothing to chance when it came to reminding moviegoers why the loved the nattering, mischievous, highlighter-hued critters. Universal partnered with the likes of Snapchat, McDonald's, and Amazon to deliver nearly $600 million in publicity and promotions, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. The titular characters were ubiquitous popping up on everything from Twinkies to Chiquita bananas.
"With anything that opens to over $100 million, you breach all demographics," said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. "The Minions are the stars of the 'Despicable Me' franchise...kids love them, teens love them, and adults love them."