$593 million in marketing drives “Minions” to a huge weekend at the box office

Even Jon Hamm can’t resist the minions.
Even Jon Hamm can’t resist the minions.
Image: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
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Universal Pictures pulled out all of the stops to promote “Minions”—from Happy Meal toys to banana stickers—and it paid off with more than $115 million in US box office sales. That’s the second-highest grossing opening weekend ever for an animated film, second only to 2007’s “Shrek the Third,” and well ahead of the previous two ”Despicable Me” films from which it was spun off.

The movie has received a staggering $593 million in ads and promotions, according to Bloomberg, with the help of partners including Amazon, General Mills, McDonald’s, Comcast, and Snapchat. Half a billion Chiquita bananas have a minion sticker on them. The $593 million figure does not represent actual spending, but is the estimated media value of having the Minions appear on things like Amazon and Wheaties boxes.

McDonald’s faced angry responses from parents when they heard Minion toys in Happy Meals say a phrase commonly abbreviated as “WTF.”

The film is a prequel focusing on the minions, who work under villain Gru (Steve Carell) in “Despicable Me” and “Despicable Me 2,” as they look for a new evil boss.