Minions: The Rise of Gru beats Elvis at the box office

Elvis firms at the box office as Minions: The Rise of Gru is an animation triumph

There are several different ways of assessing the performance of Elvis at the box office. While it is a lavish, wide appeal mainstream picture, it is not a superhero film, or even a franchise. Luhrmann’s last project, The Great Gatsby, is a pretty good benchmark. While Elvis opened with roughly comparable figures here, the US release was half the Gatsby numbers. Purely financial success looks like a tough ask.

Read: Catherine Martin on creating Elvis

In Australia it dropped 14% and has now made $16.21m. [All figures are in AU$].

On its second weekend in North America, the returns dropped to $28m from $45m, which is around average for many second weekends. But it did very well in the intervening week, so it has made almost $100m domestically, and $165m around the world as more international territories have come online.

Remembering that a film is chasing cost of production + marketing + % return from box office, I figure it may need to make $350m to break even, so it is nearly half way in two weekends. 

Read: Elvis – ScreenHub review

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is hanging in despite losing a quarter of its screens and 16% of the weekend box office. But a cumulative take of $1.77m continues to look more respectable each week. How to Please a Woman is now down to $24,000 over the weekend, with a total of $2.32m.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson review

International films

With our school holidays in full swing, Top Gun increased its take by 8% to make $73m in Australia over six weeks. Jurassic World was down slightly to reach $31m, while Lightyear climbed 17% to drag itself to $7.38m in three weeks. In other words, the exhibitors are doing pretty well out of these holidays.

Read: Top Gun: Maverick – ScreenHub review

But the top film was Minions: The Rise of Gru in its second week, which has now taken $17.6m. Elvis just topped Top Gun for the second slot, Jurassic World at number four had half the take of the others, while Lightyear has half that again. 

Read: Jurassic World: Dominion – ScreenHub review

Last weekend, the steep drop off point occurred when mainstream films were followed by specialty films; now the grey fog of modest returns has reached up to hit the big Hollywood pictures as well. 

Animated Fable My Sweet Monster, burdened by a PG rating, was pushed by cinemas which doubled the screens to around 130, but only managed $88,000 in its first weekend. 

I’ve been encouraging people to watch Haute Couture, Dashcam and Ali and Ava, all of which made well under $100,000 on their launch. But grown-ups don’t like multiplexes in holiday times. 

Next weekend 

Thor: Love and Thunder breaks across our national imagination. It is directed by Taika Waititi and co-written by himself and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Thor: Ragnarok, also transformed by the Taika Touch, was budgeted at $260m and took $1.24 billion. 

Read: Screenhub on Taika Waititi’s wondrous career

Expect this one to blast across the cinemascape and twist these current figures like pretzels. 

Also arriving is The Siege of Robin Hood, a kind of parallel universe medieval film which drops Merlin and Lancelot in with the Merrie Men and Little John. Director, actor, co-writer and producer Paul Allica is a graduate of Deakin University’s Film and Digital Media degree, and made the film here over nearly six years.

In the US, Minions is going gangbusters, with $155m in its opening week, and huge momentum as its nearly 5,000 theatres start counting takings for the July 4 holiday. But nothing can challenge the power of Top Gun, currently on $830m in the US after a $185m first weekend. In 39 days, it has taken $1.7 billion around the world.

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.