The “Minions” conquer the box office

‘Minions’ dominates weekly box office with $115.2 million debut.

(UNIVERSAL PICTURES) – “Minions” ruled the weekend box office, racking up a massive $115.2 million in North America, for the second biggest animated film opening in history.

The Universal and Illumination Entertainment spin-off to “Despicable Me” just missed the domestic record set by “Shrek the Third’s” $121.6 million kickoff in 2007, while continuing animation maestro Chris Meledandri’s hot streak at the multiplexes. What makes Meledandri so valuable to studios is that he keeps budgets low.

“Minions” cost $74 million to produce, while Pixar and DreamWorks Animation routinely spend north of $100 million on their animated features.

The studio reminded moviegoers why they love the nattering, mischievous, highlighter-hued critters. Universal partnered with the likes of Snapchat, McDonald’s and Amazon to deliver nearly $600 million in publicity and promotions, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. The titular characters were ubiquitous, popping up on everything from Twinkies to Chiquita bananas.

Holding over from previous weeks, “Jurassic World” came in second place; Walt Disney’s “Inside Out” came in third place; and Paramount Pictures’ “Terminator: Genisys” took the fourth spot.

Warner Bros’ newcomer low-budget, horror film “The Gallows,” took the fifth spot. It tells the story of a group of high school students caught up in the haunted reenactment of a school play.