Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 4’ Ignites July Fourth Holiday Moviegoing With $27 Million Debut

Gru and his gang of minions are setting off box office fireworks this Independence Day.

“Despicable Me 4,” the latest entry in Universal and Illumination’s wildly successful animated franchise, opened to $27 million on Wednesday. The sequel brings back Steve Carell as Gru, a recovering supervillain turned secret agent, and pits him against Will Ferrell as a French baddie named Maxime Le Mal. Yet it’s the minions, those anarchic, highlighter-yellow critters, who are the biggest attractions, having starred in not just the “Despicable Me” films, but also a series of spinoffs. Look for “Despicable Me 4” to earn roughly $120 million over the five-day holiday weekend.

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That strong showing is welcome news for movie theaters, which have endured a bruising start to the summer after promising films like “The Fall Guy” and “Furiosa” bombed. Things have been turning around, however, with Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Sony’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” and Paramount’s “A Quiet Place: Day One” bringing back crowds over the last few weeks. On Wednesday, “Inside Out 2” nabbed $7.3 million, pushing its domestic gross to $496.6 million. “A Quiet Place: Day One” picked up $4.4 million, bringing its stateside haul to $68.6 million. And “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” netted $1.2 million, which takes its domestic earnings to $169.1 million.

Elsewhere, “Horizon: An American Saga,” Kevin Costner’s epic Western grossed $1.1 million. So far the film, which is a financial disaster, has earned $14.8 million after being in theaters for a week. Costner, who produced, co-wrote and stars in “Horizon,” also partially self-financed the multi-part production. Despite being rejected by audiences, a second installment is set to open in August and shooting on a third chapter has started.

The “Despicable Me” franchise has become virtually synonymous with the Fourth of July. The 2022 spinoff, “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” also opened in this sliver of the calendar, breaking records to become the highest film debut over the holiday with $123 million for the five days. Other films in the series, including 2017’s “Despicable Me 3” ($99 million debut), 2013’s “Despicable Me 2” ($83.5 million debut) and 2010’s “Despicable Me” ($56 million debut), all bowed over the same holiday period.

Last year, the July 4 box office featured a race between “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” a flop that spelled the end for the once might franchise, and “Sound of Freedom,” a low-budget, faith-based film that was an unexpected commercial juggernaut.

“Despicable Me 4” was directed by series mainstay Chris Renaud and co-directed by Patrick Delage. In addition to Carell and Ferrell, the voice cast includes Kristen Wiig, Pierre Coffin, Joey King, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan, Sofía Vergara and Stephen Colbert.

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