Minions: Yellow Creatures Now Occupy Center Stage

There has been a legitimate concern, ever since The minions_2Minions went into pre-production, of whether or not the minions, the adorable and mischievous yellow mini-dudes from Despicable Me can get a movie all their own?

My reaction to this issue is mixed.  I think this prequel works better for very young and less discriminating viewers.

I missed the press screenings for the film and saw The Minions on Friday afternoon, surrounded by kids who seem to love every moment. Judged by their reactions, I had no doubts that the movie would be a blockbuster, even if would divide critical response.

minions_1You may recall that the small, yellow, goggle-eyed creatures served the villainous Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) in the two Despicable Me pictures, which were smash hit.

As an origin story, the tale is very slender in themes and ideas, and may be too cute for its own good.

A strong and entertaining opening chapter traces the minion saga from the time of the T-Rex through Dracula, Napoleon and other villainous evildoers.

As directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, from a scenario by Brian Lynch, the subsequent sequences are less inspiring and less amusing.

Led by Kevin, Stuart and Bob (all voiced by Coffin) , the Minions face a few obstacles, including a family of crooks (parents are voiced by Michael Keaton and Allison Janney, respectively).

minions_3At a Villain-Con convention in Orlando, they encounter Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), a suave femme and her inventor husband, Herb (Jon Hamm). Scarlet enlists their help in stealing Queen Elizabeth’s crown, but it turns out to be a botch job.

There are slow, uninteresting moments, and ultimately, as freakish creatures, the Minions may not deserve to occupy center-stage for a whole picture.

Commercial Appeal

minions_6The Minions, the yellow underlings, are dominating this week’s box-office.

The animated feature grossed $46 million Friday night in 4,301 locations, which puts them on track for a $120 million opening weekend, higher than early estimates had forecasted.

“Minions” started its good streak early, grossing $6.2 million at 2,985 locations in Thursday night previews, the most ever for an animated film.

The comedy stars Sandra Bullock, at the top of the form, as the minions’ latest villainous boss.

If “Minions” remain on track for such a large opening, the Universal-Illumination Entertainment animated comedy will be the fourth film this year to debut above the $100 million mark, joining “Furious 7,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” and “Jurassic World.”

A spinoff of the “Despicable Me” films, “The Minions” will outdo the originals:. The first “Despicable Me” opened to $56.3 million in 2010 on its way to a $250 million-plus total haul stateside. The sequel opened to an even larger $83.5 million in 2013, pulling in a total of $368 million in the U.S.

If “Minions” finishes north of $120 million, it could knock “Shrek the Third” out of the No. 1 spot for an animated film debut.

The third “Shrek” premiered to $121.6 million in 2007, and second place is currently held by “Toy Story 3’s” $110 million haul in 2010.