nullO.K. I admit
it. I don’t know nuttin’.  For weeks some
box office analysts, especially WGN’s Erik Childress, have been saying that Universal/Illumination
Entertainment’s animated film "Minions," was certain to gross $300 million

I was somewhat
leery about that. First of all, the spin-off for those very successful "Despicable
Me" animated films looked like an iffy proposition at best. Though, keep in mind
that, until "Jurassic World," came out last month, beating its record, "Despicable Me
2" was the biggest grossing film domestically ever in the history of Universal

Sure, those
cute little childlike, yellow pill looking things speaking gibberish (with some
Yiddish phrases sprinkled in here and there) are funny enough for a five minute
bit. But creating an entire film around that would be more problematic. It’s like
those really lousy "Saturday Night Live "movie spin-offs on second rate SNL characters
that might have been funny in a ten minute skit on the show, but making an
entire film around them, most of the time, turned out to be a very bad idea.

On top of
that, after seeing "Minions," which is just modestly amusing at best,
I was even more convinced that the film would do well. But $300 million domestically? No way.

Well, like I
said, I don’t know nothing. Turns out that, on Friday alone, "Minions" opened to the
single largest Friday opening for any animated film in history (Pixar, Disney
and Dreamworks included) with $46.2 million; and this weekend, it made a total of $115 million, meaning that the $300 domestic box office is very well within reach.

And add to
that the $200 million that "Minions" has made since last week, internationally, and it’s well on
its way to becoming one of the most successful animated films in the history of
Universal, and one of the most successful cartoons of all time.

So I stand
corrected. People really just love those cute, jabbering yellow pills. Beats me as to why. Do you know? Or as one friend said to me yesterday, “You really, really, REALLY don’t
know kids”.

Granted, I
admit that I don’t.

Now it may
look like everything is currently rosy for Hollywood; but the reality is that, despite all the big numbers that films such as "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Jurassic
World" and "Minions" have been getting, this summer’s b.o. take is less than the b.o. take at
this same period last year. And remember that 2014 had the worst summer b.o.
total take since 2005, which, when adjusted
for inflation, was actually the worst b.o. summer since 1992.

Sure, things
could pick up during the second half of this summer, as both, "Ant-Man," "Pixels" and "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" are expected to do really well; also "Trainwreck" is expected to be one of this
summer’s biggest sleeper hits. And even if those films work out as planned, this
summer’s final b.o. totals are expected to barely match last year’s. That is if
the studios are lucky.

As for the
rest of this weekend, "Jurassic World" came in No. 2, with "Inside Out" following very close behind, with less than a million dollars between them.

Though one
could argue that the most successful film this weekend was the Warner horror
film pick up, "The Gallows," which was originally made by a pair of young Fresno California
filmmakers for the unbelievable low budget of $15,000. After reworking and
shooting new scenes for the film, and adding in some more scares, it was picked
up by Warners and New Line for practically nothing, and it’s paid big

Also yet
another Bollywood film marketed exclusively to Indian audiences here in the
U.S. – "Baahubali: The Beginning" – landed in the top ten, playing on only 236 screens, but
with an excellent $15,00 per screen average, giving it the second highest per
screen average after "Minions," this weekend.

Which begs
the question: what can black filmmakers in the USA learn from Bollywood filmmakers, if anything?

1) Minions     Uni.     $115,200,000    
2) Jurassic World     Uni.     $18,100,000     Total: $590,638,000    
3) Inside Out     BV     $17,108,000  Total: $283,638,000    
4) Terminator: Genisys     Par.     $13,700,000     Total: $68,718,000    
5) The Gallows     WB (NL)     $10,015,000     Total: $10,015,000    
6) Magic Mike XXL     WB     $9,640,000     Total: $48,359,000    
7) Ted 2     Uni.     $5,600,000         Total: $71,619,000    
8) Self/Less     Focus     $5,379,000         $5,379,000    
9) Baahubali: The Beginning     BSC     $3,575,000        
10) Max     WB     $3,420,000     Total: $33,705,000    
11) Spy     Fox     $3,000,000         Total: $103,463,000    
12) Amy     A24     $1,780,000     Total: $2,121,000