Comcast Hits Big With 'Despicable Me 4': Can Stocks, Movie Theaters Benefit From 2024 Blockbusters? - Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (2024)

Concerns for the box office in 2024 may have been overly exaggerated or first half heavy, as "Despicable Me 4" continued the recent success of animated films in movie theaters.

What Happened: Opening over the Fourth of July holiday, "Despicable Me 4" grossed $122.6 million at the domestic box office in its first five days in theaters.

The film earned $75 million during the three-day weekend after its early Wednesday holiday week opening, as reported by Variety.

In international markets, the movie added another $106.9 million in theaters, for a worldwide opening total of $229.5 million.

The film comes from Universal Studios, a unit of Comcast Corporation CMCSA and continues the storyline of Gru and the Minions, which started with the first Despicable Me film in 2010.

"Minions: The Rise of Gru" leads the franchise with $370.3 million in domestic box office. "Minions" leads the franchise with $1.16 billion in worldwide box office. Each of the last four films in the franchise have grossed at least $900 million worldwide.

The fourth Despicable Me movie is the sixth in the franchise when counting the Minions standalone movies. The franchise will have at least two more films, with a third Minions movie reportedly planned for 2026 and a fifth Despicable Me movie reportedly planned for 2028.

"It's a tremendous debut for a franchise that is now many installments in," Universal's Head of Distribution Jim Orr said. "People around the world love Gru and the Minions and find them to be clever and adorable and hysterically funny."

Outside of "Despicable Me 4," another 2024 animated film continued to score big at the box office. The Walt Disney Company DIS hit "Inside Out 2" finished in second place with $30 million to take its domestic box office total to $533.8 million. The film has now grossed $1.2 billion globally and is the fifth-biggest animated film worldwide of all time.

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Why It's Important: The latest film came with a production cost of $100 million according to Variety, which could lead to big profits for Comcast. For comparison, Variety said Pixar and Disney animated films often come with $200 million production budgets.

Universal dominated the box office in 2023 and had the second-biggest film with the animated hit "The Super Mario Bros.," which grossed $574.9 million domestically and $1.36 billion worldwide.

The Comcast unit ranked as the top grossing studio in 2023 with $4.91 billion from 24 films, beating Disney ($4.83 billion, 17 films). This marked the first time Disney didn't finish in first place for worldwide box office by studio since 2015.

In 2024, Universal has four top-15 movies domestically, with "Kung Fu Panda 4" ranking fourth ($193.6 million) and "Despicable Me 4" already ranking seventh. "Fall Guy" and "Migration" rank 12th and 15th respectively.

Upcoming Universal releases in 2024 include "Twisters," "Speak No Evil," "The Wild Robot" and "Wicked."

While many movie theater companies and analysts have brushed off 2024 as a continuing recovery year after the Hollywood strike of 2023, several recent hits like "Bad Boys: Ride or Die," "Inside Out 2" and "Despicable Me 4" point to a strong second half of 2024.

Ticket sales are now down 17% year-over-year, compared to being down 28% heading into the summer season.

AMC Entertainment Holdings AMC reported a strong Fourth of July week and weekend, led by "Despicable Me 4." The movie theater leader said it has over four million moviegoers over the extended holiday weekend. This broke a company record for domestic attendance in 2024 for a Wednesday through Sunday period.

The company stated that its "Despicable Me 4" collectible popcorn bucket and other merchandise generated the highest revenue for 2024 and the second highest in the company’s history.

In addition to strong ticket sales and merchandise, AMC reported that its food and beverage revenue on July 3 reached the highest level for a Wednesday since 2020 and the third-highest Wednesday food and beverage revenue in the company’s history.

"We're also pleased to see that AMC's merchandise strategy continues to reap benefits, both in the offerings for our guests, and in terms of revenue for the Company," AMC CEO Adam Aron said.

CMCSA Price Action: Comcast shares are down 1% to $37.45 on Monday, versus a 52-week trading range of $36.43 to $47.46. Comcast stock is down 15% year-to-date in 2024 and down 10% over the last year.

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Comcast Hits Big With 'Despicable Me 4': Can Stocks, Movie Theaters Benefit From 2024 Blockbusters? - Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (2024)
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