‘Despicable Me 4’ Tops July 4th Box Office With $20.4 Million, ‘Inside Out 2’ Crosses $500 Million Domestically

Fireworks, barbecues and Gru. That’s how many Americans celebrated the Fourth of July, as “Despicable Me 4” topped the box office, earning a commanding $20.4 million.

The film, the latest entry in Universal and Illumination’s wildly successful franchise about a domesticated former supervillain, has earned $47.6 million in its first two days of release. It is projected to gross roughly $120 million over the five-day holiday — an impressive result for a production that carries a relatively economical (for an animated movie) $100 million budget. In contrast, many films by Disney and Pixar, Illumination’s main rivals, routinely cost $200 million to produce.

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“Despicable Me 4” brings back Steve Carell as Gru and pits him against his former “Anchorman” co-star Will Ferrell, who plays a French foil named Maxime Le Mal, and Sofia Vergara as Valentina, a femme fatale and Maxime’s main squeeze. But it’s the minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin, a filmmaker who has overseen past “Despicable Me” movies), those highlighter-yellow, manic critters that have delighted kids for over a decade, that are the series’ superpower. Not only do they pop up in the “Despicable Me” films, they’ve also anchored spinoff adventures and become Illumination’s mascots in the process. The animation house been able to build on the success of the “Despicable Me” movies, going on to field hits like “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Sing” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

“Despicable Me’s” main competition was from “Inside Out 2,” another animated blockbuster that has restored the luster of Pixar and Disney after the studios suffered a few missteps. The film earned $7.2 million on Independence Day pushing its domestic gross to a massive $503.6 million. “Inside Out 2” now ranks as the third highest-grossing animated film domestically; it’s also the sixth biggest animated film globally, having earned more than $1.07 billion.

Paramount’s horror prequel, “A Quiet Place: Day One,” picked up $4.7 million over July Fourth, bringing its domestic total to $73.3 million, while Angel Studios’ “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot,” the story of a Texas minister and his wife’s efforts to change the lives of foster kids, opened to $3.2 million. Kevin Costner’s “Horizon: An American Saga” rounded out the top five with $1.9 million. The pricey Western epic was partially self-financed by the “Yellowstone” star and is being distributed by Warner Bros. and New Line. Costner has already finished a sequel, which hits theaters in August, and is shooting a third installment. Ultimately, he wants to make four movies about westward expansion. However, the first “Horizon’s” disastrous $16.7 million domestic gross coupled with the blistering reviews it received have raised questions about the sustainability of his epic vision.

Last year’s Fourth of July was a muted affair as faith-based drama “Sound of Freedom” earned $14.2 million to top “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the flailing adventure series that grossed a disappointing $11.7 million during the holiday.

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