Correction: Box Office Mojo had reported “Minions: The Rise of Gru” at 5 million, and we quoted that incorrect number in an early posting of this article.
The first Despicable Me film didn’t even get into Chinese theaters. But, after Despicable Me 2 made a strong first impression in 2014, Gru and his yellow overalled friends have managed to endear themselves to the Chinese public. In 2017, Despicable Me 3 grossed 8 million at the Chinese box office on the way to a final global take of .035 billion.
On August 18, The Rise of Gru will also hit Italian theaters, which is likely to generate another significant boost to the film’s global total. For reference, Minions made .3 million on the peninsula. That, combined with the guaranteed influx from China and the ongoing theatrical runs worldwide (Rise of Gru made million over the past weekend), could provide a major push for The Rise of Gru globally. The film’s current global box office sits at 7.9 million.
The Chinese box office was in a rough place earlier this year following stepped-up COVID restrictions, up to and including complete lockdowns. Over the past several weeks however, theaters have seen health and safety conditions loosen and ticket sales are on the rise.
Universal announced The Rise of Gru’s upcoming theatrical run from its Weibo account, which included a new poster and the comment “Long time no see, troublemakers! Get on the scooter, we’re back! The back seat is a bit crowded. On August 19, call on your family and friends to see you in the theater!”
On August 19, Minions: The Rise of Gru will kick off a theatrical run as the first major Hollywood title to land in China since Universal’s Jurassic World Dominion, which has grossed 7.4 million across its nine-week stretch in the country. The last big Hollywood animated feature to play in Chinese theaters was Dreamworks’ The Bad Guys, which grossed .5 million there, more than 20% of its total global 5.7 million haul.
After a historic box office run that looked to be winding down, NBCUniversal/Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru has caught its second wind in the form of a Chinese theatrical release.