Minions Studio’s new animated film hits major box office milestone despite slow beginning

Illumination Entertainment, renowned for its success with the Minions franchise, is experiencing a noteworthy turnaround with its latest release, “Migration,” despite a sluggish start at the box office. The animated film, featuring a star-studded cast including Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key, Awkwafina, and Danny DeVito, initially premiered over Christmas weekend 2023 with a modest $12.5 million, marking the lowest opening gross in Illumination’s history.

However, recent reports reveal that “Migration” has not only overcome its slow start but has surpassed a remarkable $150 million milestone globally during its third weekend in theaters. This significant achievement is attributed to a relatively even split between its domestic earnings of $77 million and its international gross of $73 million. With a reported production budget of $72 million, crossing the $150 million mark positions the film to enter profit territory, as the estimated break-even point typically hovers around $144 million.

The unexpected success of “Migration” contrasts with Illumination’s earlier triumph in 2023 with “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which soared to become the second highest-grossing film of the year, amassing an impressive $1.36 billion worldwide. While “Migration” may not achieve the same commercial heights, there’s now speculation regarding the potential for a sequel.

Illumination’s track record is punctuated by the success of three films grossing over $1 billion, including the Minions and Despicable Me 3. The studio has consistently found commercial success in animated franchises, such as Despicable Me, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. While “The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2” is awaiting confirmation, signs point to an expanded Mario franchise in the near future.

The prospect of “Migration” spawning its own series of sequels hinges on its ultimate box office performance. Illumination, however, has demonstrated a willingness to invest in franchises with long-term potential, exemplified by the development of Sing 3, even after Sing 2 grossed over $200 million less than its predecessor. This industry precedent suggests that Illumination may be inclined to support franchises that might not show immediate promise, potentially working in favor of “Migration’s” aspirations for a successful franchise. The evolving landscape of Illumination’s cinematic universe, coupled with industry uncertainties, adds an intriguing layer to the studio’s future endeavors in animation.

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