'Minions' off to a strong start; could a box-office record be in their sights?

With one large eye on weekend domination, "Minions" easily topped the competition for a No. 1 debut Friday at the box office.

The animated film, an offshoot of the successful "Despicable Me" franchise, earned an estimated $46.2 million to start the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. That puts the movie on course to make approximately $120 million by Sunday, which the tracking site said would be the biggest animated opening — ahead of recent blockbusters such as "Shrek 2," "Toy Story 2" and "Shrek the Third."

Before Friday's debut, Universal Pictures estimated "Minions" would perform in line with the $83.5 million bow by "Despicable Me 2" in 2013.

"Minions" isn't the only animated film drawing theatergoers this weekend.

"Inside Out," Disney/Pixar's acclaimed movie about a young girl's personified emotions, finished at No. 2 on Friday with returns of $5.36 million, Box Office Mojo said, just squeaking by "Jurassic World," which made $5.3 million to begin its fifth weekend in theaters.

"The Gallows," a new horror film from Warner Bros., came in at No. 4 with ticket sales of $4.5 million. People familiar with prerelease audience surveys had estimated the movie would make between $8 million and $10 million by the end of the weekend.

Friday's top 5 was rounded out by "Terminator Genisys," which pulled in $4 million. Last weekend, the film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role he originated more than three decades ago, opened in third place.

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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