Despicable Me

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Despicable Me
Gru standing with his girls and his Minions
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay byCinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Story bySergio Pablos
Music by
Edited by
  • Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
  • Gregory Perler
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[1]
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • June 19, 2010 (2010-06-19) (MIFF)[2][3]
  • July 9, 2010 (2010-07-09) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes[4]
CountryUnited States[5][1]
Budget$69 million[4]
Box office$543.1 million[4]

Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment as its debut film and project and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film was animated by the French animation studio Mac Guff, which was later acquired by Illumination.[6] Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud in their directorial debuts with a story by Sergio Pablos and screenplay by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the film is eponymous with the main character and its theme song, composed by Pharrell Williams.

The film stars Steve Carell as the voice of Gru, a supervillain who adopts three girls (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher) from an orphanage; and Jason Segel as the voice of Vector, a rival of Gru that steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. When Gru learns of Vector's heist, he plans an even greater heist: to shrink and steal the Moon. However, despite Gru's villainous intentions, he grows increasingly touched by the girls' growing love for him and finds himself changing for the better because of it.

Released theatrically on July 9, 2010 in the United States, Despicable Me received positive reviews and grossed over $546 million worldwide against a budget of $69 million.[4] It launched the Despicable Me franchise series of films, including the sequel Despicable Me 2 in 2013, another sequel, Despicable Me 3 in 2017,[7] and two prequels; Minions, released in 2015,[8] and the upcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru in 2021, both of which feature Gru's Minions as the main characters.


A supervillain named Felonius Gru has his pride injured when an unknown rival steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. With the assistance of his scientist sidekick, Dr. Nefario, and his Minions, Gru resolves to one-up this mysterious rival by shrinking and stealing the Moon. Knowing this is extremely expensive, Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil. Mr. Perkins, the bank president, is impressed by the plan, but he will approve the loan only if Gru can obtain the necessary shrink ray first. Upon learning that an up-and-coming villain known as Vector was responsible for the Pyramid theft, Gru openly displays a rivalry with him.

Gru and the Minions steal the shrink ray from a secret testing base in East Asia, but Vector intercepts them and steals it for himself. Gru attempts to break into Vector's impregnable fortress to recover the shrink ray, only to be defeated by numerous defenses. As nothing seems to work, he notices three orphan girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, who are able to easily enter the base as they are selling cookies. Gru disguises himself and adopts the girls, planning to use them to infiltrate Vector's base. However, Gru has trouble nurturing them properly due to their stubbornness, their ballet classes, and his own ineptitude as a parent.

Eventually, Gru and the girls arrive at Vector's fortress, and Gru successfully steals back the shrink ray. The girls then suggest a day at a theme park. Gru agrees, believing he can abandon the girls there; but as he cannot, he begins to bond with them instead. Later, Gru contacts Perkins via video chat, stating that he finally has the shrink ray. Margo, Edith, and Agnes interrupt the meeting, and Perkins announces that he has lost confidence in Gru and will no longer fund his operations. As Gru tells the Minions he can no longer fund the heist, the girls offer the contents of their piggy bank. With his Minions and himself inspired, Gru sells parts of his lair and the items he stole over the years to construct a spacecraft. Gru plans to steal the Moon when it is nearest to Earth, but this is the same day as the girls' ballet recital. As Gru becomes conflicted, Dr. Nefario arranges for the girls to be returned to the orphanage, fearing the recital could ruin the plan. At the same time, Perkins informs Vector of Gru's possession of the shrink ray and the adoption of the three girls, encouraging Vector to take action.

Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon. He rushes back to Earth to attend the recital, only to find a ransom note from Vector, who has infiltrated and abducted the girls. After arriving at Vector's base, Gru surrenders the Moon. However, Vector procrastinates on the deal and after failing to stop Gru's advance, flies off with the girls and the Moon. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario has discovered that the effects of the shrink ray are temporary: the bigger the object is, the faster it reverts to its original size. Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions execute a daring mid-air rescue of the girls, just before the Moon destroys Vector's spaceship and launches itself back into orbit, along with Vector on it.

Some time later, Gru re-adopts the girls, writing them a bedtime storybook based on his own experience. The girls perform their ballet recital for Gru, his mother, Marlena, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions, only for one of the Minions to switch the music to something more modern, ending the film in a dance party.

During the end credits, three of the Minions try to get through the gap over the white. In their last attempt, the coach ends up flying, destroying the movie screen.



Despicable Me was initially developed by Sergio Pablos under the working title Evil Me. He later participated in development during the early stages of the production and took the package unsolicited to Universal Pictures, where he became the first of several screenwriters on the project as well as executive producer.[10]

Producer Chris Meledandri left 20th Century Fox Animation as president in early 2007 to establish his own animation studio under Universal Pictures, which he named Illumination Entertainment.[11] After buying the pitch from Pablos, Meledandri brought in screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, with whom he'd worked on Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who while at Fox, to write the project.[12] Soon after he brought together animators Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud to direct, with the Paris-based studio Mac Guff to handle animation.[13] Coffin, who comes from Mac Guff, was recruited for his experience directing commercials for the studio, while Renaud was brought in for his animation experience in Blue Sky Studios.[13] In November 2008, Illumination Entertainment announced the beginning of development on its first CGI animated film and project, Despicable Me.[12][14]

The language spoken by the Minions was invented by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the directors of the film. The language is sometimes titled "Minionese".[15]


Despicable Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, and it was released on July 6, 2010.[16] It featured new songs from the film written and performed by Pharrell Williams, and performances by Destinee & Paris, the Sylvers, Robin Thicke, and the Bee Gees.[16]



NBC (which is owned by Universal) had an extensive marketing campaign leading up to the film's release. Sneak peeks were shown in episodes of The Biggest Loser.[17] Despicable Me was also featured on Last Comic Standing when Gru comes in to audition.[17] IHOP restaurants promoted the film by introducing three new menu items, a kids' breakfast meal, and a drink all having the word "minion" in them.[18] Best Buy released a free smartphone application called "Best Buy Movie Mode", which translated what the Minions were saying during the end credits of the 3D theatrical release.[19] For the home media release of the film, the application was updated to translate the Minions' language throughout the entire film.[19]


In May 2010, three books related to the movie were published, as well as the children's puppet book featured in the film. The first, My Dad the Super Villain (ISBN 0-316-08382-8), was rated as a preschool book.[20] The second, Despicable Me: The Junior Novel (ISBN 0-316-08380-1), was rated as being a Junior Reader for ages 8 to 12.[21] The third, Despicable Me: The World's Greatest Villain (ISBN 0-316-08377-1), was rated for ages 3–6 years.[22] The puppet book Sleepy Kittens (ISBN 0-316-08381-X) was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and illustrated by Eric Guillon.[23]

Video games[edit]

A video game titled Despicable Me: The Game was released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii.[24] A Nintendo DS version was released under the name Despicable Me: The Game - Minion Mayhem.[25] Namco also released a version for the iPhone and iPad platform entitled Despicable Me: Minion Mania, developed by Anino Games.[26]

Home media[edit]

Despicable Me was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on December 14, 2010. The release included three new short films, titled Home Makeover, Orientation Day, and Banana.[27] The film was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on June 6, 2017.[28]


Critical reception[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 81% based on 199 reviews and an average rating of 6.78/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own."[29] As of 2020, it is the highest-rated film from Illumination on the site. Metacritic, another review aggregation website, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[31]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars, saying the directors were skilled at "springing surprises" from the writers' "ingenious" screenplay.[32] Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Since villains so often steal the show in animation, Despicable Me smartly turns the whole operation over to megalomaniacal rogue Gru."[33] Robert Wilonsky of The Village Voice wrote, "The result is pleasant and diverting, if ultimately forgettable, and it's one of the rare instances in the recent history of 3-D's resurrection as The Savior of Cinema in which the technology doesn't dim the screen or distract the focus."[34] Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "The setup is pure Looney Tunes, and indeed, Despicable Me is at its best when trading in the anything-for-a-laugh prankery that was a specialty of the Termite Terrace crowd."[35] Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me is a 3D cartoon comedy of whiplash-quick laughs, funny punch lines and a wickedly gimmicky appreciation for 3D."[36] Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote, "Kids will dig it, adults will smile with amusement, and no one will be any different afterward than they were walking into the theater."[37] Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film three and a half stars out of five, saying, "Neither as rich in story nor stunning in animation as Pixar offerings, Despicable Me instead settles for simply being goofy good fun, and it hardly seems like settling at all."[38]

Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Short, sweet-and-sour, and amusing rather than funny, Despicable Me can't help but be likable."[39] Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "You'll probably leave the theater smiling, but don't expect to be emotionally engaged, Pixar-style. You'll be tickled, not touched."[40] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "A whip-smart family movie that makes inventive use of the summer's ubiquitous 3-D technology is something worth cheering."[41] Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Despicable Me appeals both to our innocence and our glee over cartoon anarchy."[42] Jason Anderson of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me may not match the stratospherically high standards set by Up and WALL-E but that hardly matters when it's this much fun."[43] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me has enough visual novelty and high spirits to keep the kiddies diverted and just enough wit to placate the parents."[44] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "The film is funny, energetic, teeth-gnashingly venomous and animated with an eye to exploiting the 3-D process with such sure-fire techniques as a visit to an amusement park."[45] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "By taking the "heart" part just seriously enough, and in the nick of time, the movie saves itself from itself."[46]

Kim Newman of Empire gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "It's no first-rank CGI cartoon, but shows how Pixar's quality over crass is inspiring the mid-list. Fun, with teary bits, for kids fresh and smart for adults."[47] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The film throws so much ersatz cleverness and overdone emotion at the audience that we end up more worn out than entertained."[48] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Unfortunately Despicable Me is just, predictably eh. And the one thing the larcenous Gru never steals is our heart."[49] Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Right now, any excuse for air conditioning will do. So it's a happy bonus to find that Despicable Me is more than just a heat-busting baby-sitter."[50] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "This is a smartly written comedy with a soft emotional core."[51] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me may not be the most sophisticated kids movie ever, but it stacks up against recent animated fare like How To Train Your Dragon the way The New York Review of Books compares to USA Today."[52] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "An improbably heartwarming, not to mention visually delightful, diversion."[53] Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail gave the film four out of four stars, saying, "This animated thing pretty near out-Pixars Pixar."[54] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "When compared with the ambition and achievement of recent animated films, such as Coraline and Toy Story 3, Despicable Me hardly seems to have been worth making, and it's barely worth watching."[55]

Bob Mondello of NPR gave the film an eight out of ten, saying, "It's all thoroughly adorable, and with an overlay that's nearly as odd as Carell's accent: Despicable Me looks a lot like other computer-animated pictures."[56] Mary F. Pols of MSN Movies gave the film four out of five stars, saying, "The movie finishes strong, managing to be sweet without being saccharine. It's no Toy Story 3, but Despicable Me is a solid alternative."[57] A. O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "So much is going on in this movie that, while there's nothing worth despising, there's not much to remember either."[58] Laremy Legel of gave the film an A, saying, "Despicable Me is darned cute. I know cute isn't to the lofty level of message storytelling but it can be entertaining to watch when done correctly."[59] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Despicable doesn't measure up to Pixar at its best. Nonetheless, it's funny, clever and warmly animated with memorable characters."[60] Steve Persall of the Tampa Bay Times gave the film a B, saying, "Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud craft a fun stretch run, wrapping the story with warm, fuzzy funnies and nothing to suggest a sequel, which is probably wise."[61] Tasha Robinson of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying, "Until the creep + orphans = happy family formula starts demanding abrupt, unconvincing character mutations, Despicable Me is a giddy joy."[62] Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Everyone knows that the villains are usually the most interesting characters in any movie. So the makers of Despicable Me were wise to cut to the chase and make the megalomaniacal Gru the central character in this animated film."[63]

Box office[edit]

Released on July 9, 2010, in the United States, Despicable Me opened at the number one spot at the box office and pulled in $56.3 million, making it the third-biggest opening grossing for an animated film in 2010 behind Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After.[64] In its second weekend, the film dipped 42% to second place behind Inception with $32.8 million earned. The film then had another drop of 27% in its third weekend and finished in third place with $23.8 million. On August 5, 2010, the film crossed the $200 million mark, becoming the first Universal film to reach the milestone since 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum.[65]

On the weekend lasting from September 3–5, 2010, it surpassed Shrek Forever After to become the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2010 in the United States and Canada, behind Toy Story 3.[66] It was also the highest-grossing non-DreamWorks/non-Disney·Pixar animated film of all time in these territories, since overtaken by its sequel.[66] The film has made $251,513,985 in the United States and Canada as well as an estimated $291.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $546,010,705, against its $69 million budget.[4] This film is also Universal's sixth-highest-grossing film (unadjusted for inflation)[67] and the tenth-highest-grossing animated feature of all time in North America.[68] In worldwide earnings, it is the sixth-biggest film of Universal Studios,[69] the fourth-highest-grossing animated film of 2010 trailing Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, and Tangled, the 41st-highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the 9th-highest-grossing film of 2010.[70]


Award Category/Recipient(s) Result
Annie Awards[71] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Voice Acting in a Feature Production (Steve Carell)
Character Design In an Animated Film (Carter Goodrich)
Directing in a Feature Production (Pierre Coffin)
Music in a Feature Production (Pharrell Williams and Heitor Pereira)
Production Design in a Feature Production (Yarrow Cheny and Eric Guillon)
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[72] Best Animated Feature
Best Animated Female (Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, and Elsie Fisher as Agnes)
BAFTA Awards[73] Best Animated Film
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[74] Best Animated Film
Golden Globe Awards[75] Best Animated Feature Film
Heartland Film Festival 2010[76] Truly Moving Picture Award Won
Kids Choice Awards[77] Favorite Animated Movie Won
Favorite Buttkicker (Steve Carell) Nominated
Peoples Choice Awards[78] Favorite Family Movie
Satellite Awards[79] Best Animated or Mixed Media Film
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film[80]
Teen Choice Awards[81] Choice Summer: Movie
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[82] Best Animated film
Women Film Critics Circle[83] Best Animated Females Won

Sequels and prequels[edit]


A sequel, titled Despicable Me 2, was released on July 3, 2013 in the United States.[84] It was produced by the same team that was behind the first film along with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Russell Brand, and Miranda Cosgrove reprise their roles; Kristen Wiig and Ken Jeong returned but voiced new characters (Lucy Wilde and Floyd Eagle-san).[85] New cast members included Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo, Gru's nemesis, and Steve Coogan as Silas Ramsbottom.[86]

A third movie in the franchise, titled Despicable Me 3, was released on June 30, 2017.[87]


A prequel feature film titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the main characters, was released on July 10, 2015.[88] Written by Brian Lynch, it was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.[88] The film, set in the 1960s, focuses on the Minions before they met Gru, where they compete for the right to become henchmen of an ambitious villain, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock.[89] A second prequel feature film titled Minions: The Rise of Gru, will be released on July 2, 2021.


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