Despicable Me (franchise)

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Despicable Me
Despicable Me logo.svg
Created by Sergio Pablos[1]
Owner Illumination Entertainment
Films and television
Film(s)
Short film(s)
Games
Video game(s)
Audio
Soundtrack(s)
Miscellaneous
Theme parks

Despicable Me is a computer-animated comedy film franchise produced by Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. It consists of four feature films (including a spin-off), ten short films and additional merchandise. It centers on Gru, a super-villain (who later becomes a dad and superhero); his yellow-colored Minions; his three orphan girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes; and his wife, Lucy Wilde. It began with the 2010 film Despicable Me, and its 2013 and 2017 sequels Despicable Me 2 and Despicable Me 3. A prequel featuring Gru's Minions, titled Minions, was released in 2015. The franchise also includes a simulator ride attraction, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Films[edit]

Despicable Me (2010)[edit]

Despicable Me, the first film in the series, and the first film from Illumination Entertainment, was released on July 9, 2010. It was directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, based on an original story by Sergio Pablos. The film stars Steve Carell as the voice of Gru, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, Elsie Fisher as Agnes, Jason Segel as Vector, Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario and Julie Andrews as Marlena, Gru's mother. It tells the story of Gru, a super-villain who adopts three girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes, from an orphanage to try and steal a shrink ray from Vector (otherwise known as Victor), his rival, to shrink and steal the Earth's moon. Despicable Me received positive reviews, and grossed over $543 million worldwide, against a budget of $69 million, launching a new franchise.

Despicable Me 2 (2013)[edit]

A sequel, titled Despicable Me 2, released on July 3, 2013, was once again directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier,[2] and Elsie Fisher[2] reprise their roles as Gru, Doctor Nefario, Margo, Edith and Agnes respectively.[3] Kristen Wiig, who voiced Miss Hattie in the first film, voices Lucy Wilde, an agent of the Anti-Villain League who recruits Gru to take down a new villain. New cast members include Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo;[4] Bratt replaced the previously cast Al Pacino.[5] Steve Coogan voices Silas Ramsbottom, lead director of the Anti-Villain League (AVL).[3] The sequel was met with mostly positive reviews and grossed more than its predecessor with over $970 million worldwide.[6][7]

Despicable Me 3 (2017)[edit]

Steve Burke, the NBCUniversal CEO, confirmed in September 2013 that a third film in the Despicable Me series was in the works.[8] In January 2014, it was announced to be released on June 30, 2017.[9] The film was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and co-directed by Eric Guillon.[10] Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the writers of the first two films, returned to write the screenplay for the third film.[11] Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Steve Coogan reprised their roles as Gru, Lucy Wilde, Margo, Edith, and Silas Ramsbottom respectively (with Julie Andrews reprising her role as Marlena Gru, and Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud as the Minions from the first two films). Carell also voiced Gru's long-lost twin brother Dru.[12][13] New cast members included Trey Parker as the voice of Balthazar Bratt, and Nev Scharrel as the new voice of Agnes.[14][15]

Minions series[edit]

Logo of the first Minions film

Minions (2015)[edit]

A prequel to Despicable Me, featuring the Minions, was released on July 10, 2015.[16] Written by Brian Lynch, it was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healey.[17] Sandra Bullock voiced Scarlet Overkill, the villain of the film[18] and Jon Hamm voiced her husband and inventor, Herb Overkill.[19]

Minions 2 (2020)[edit]

A sequel to Minions was officially announced on January 25, 2017, with a scheduled release date of July 3, 2020.[20] It will be directed again by Kyle Balda, with co-direction by Brad Ableson, and written by Brian Lynch.[21]

Short films[edit]

Three short films based on the Despicable Me films, Home Makeover, Orientation Day and Banana were released in 2010, on the film's DVD and Blu-ray.[22] Despicable Me 2 DVD and Blu-ray release in 2013 included another three short films: Puppy, Panic in the Mailroom, and Training Wheels.[23] A series of Minions short films screened in 2015 with Minions.[24] Another short film, titled Mower Minions, was released in 2016, with The Secret Life of Pets, being the first short Minions film released theatrically.[25]

Home Makeover (2010)[edit]

After the events of Despicable Me, two Minions help Margo, Edith and Agnes renovate Gru's house, so the inspector does not take the girls back to Miss Hattie's Home for Girls.

Orientation Day (2010)[edit]

Three new Minions go for bomb-carrying duty, which was harder than they thought when they suddenly have an argument with two others carrying a giant bomb.

Banana (2010)[edit]

Three minions fight over a banana. In the process, they wreak havoc in the Minions' workplace.

Puppy (2013)[edit]

Dave the Minion watches neighbors walking their dogs on the street, which leads him to search for a pet puppy of his own. Despite several attempts failing, he comes across a stray UFO that takes the role of a puppy for him.

Panic in the Mailroom (2013)[edit]

Two Minions (Ken and Mike) are working in a package room to send parcels through different parts of the lab, while Ken is busy playing a handheld video game. When a package containing expired PX-41 (the serum that El Macho used to transform the Minions and himself in Despicable Me 2) gets jammed in the pneumatic delivery system, it transforms Mike into an evil Minion- but he keeps shifting back and forth, much to Ken's amusement. At the end, Mike spits out the PX-41 and it lands on some cats, turning them evil.

Training Wheels (2013)[edit]

Agnes is unsatisfied with her toy bike after collapsing off it while attempting to catch up to an ice cream truck with Margo, Edith and their friends. Three Minions then volunteer to modify the bike and help Agnes improve her skills.

Binky Nelson Unpacified (2015)[edit]

After a successful robbery at a museum, the Nelsons tell their youngest son Binky (who lost his pacifier in the theft) that now he is a big boy and has to leave his pacifier. Binky at night sneaks into the museum and finds his pacifier. Just as he takes it the guard comes and finds all the museum artifacts missing and finds Binky and tells him to return all the property but instead he causes a statue to fall over the guard and takes his pacifier. In the end the Nelson parents return to see Binky at night in his room and find him sleeping calmly. As they leave the room Binky takes out the pacifier and the guard's hat and wears it.

Competition (2015)[edit]

Under the same street the Minions hitchhiked in Minions, two Minions challenge themselves to numerous attacks, ending up on the lab's conveyor belt in the process.

Cro Minion (2015)[edit]

Two Minions look after a cave baby while a caveman goes to find a bull to eat for lunch. But it's harder than the Minions think.

Mower Minions (2016)[edit]

Mower Minions was released theatrically on July 8, 2016, with The Secret Life of Pets.[25] In this short, five Minions mow a lawn at the local old people's home to try and earn allowances to buy a blender they have seen on a TV commercial. However, all their work results were chaotic, and four of them were in terrible states after the chaos, such as one Minion having their head stuck in a bee hive, another Minion blackened and naked after an explosion, another being shaped like a balloon in the hazmat, and another Minion ends up nauseous with their face turning green. Despite this they get 2000 pennies and are able to purchase the blender. However they then see a commercial of an improved version of the blender and then go to earn more money to buy that one.

Video games[edit]

Despicable Me: The Game[edit]

Despicable Me: The Game is an adventure/action game released with the first film, on PlayStation 2, Wii, and PlayStation Portable systems.[26] During the game, the player controls Gru as he fights off enemies. Despicable Me: The Game – Minion Mayhem, on the other hand, is released on Nintendo DS systems only.[26] Instead of controlling Gru himself, the player controls his Minions.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush[edit]

An action video game (developed by Gameloft), titled Despicable Me: Minion Rush, also played as a Minion who must defeat Vector, El Macho and two villains made for the game, was released with the second film, on iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Android and Blackberry 10 devices.[27][28][29] As of October 2016, the game had been downloaded more than 750 million times.[30]

Minions Paradise[edit]

A free-to-play mobile game developed by Electronic Arts (otherwise known as EA), titled Minions Paradise, was released in summer 2015.[31] Playing as Phil, players will help Minions design and build their own utopia set in a tropical environment.[31]

Books[edit]

Novels written by Annie Auerbach are based on the films.[32][33][34]

Theme park attractions[edit]

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is a simulator ride that opened on July 2, 2012 at Universal Studios Florida and on April 10, 2014 at Universal Studios Hollywood, starring Steve Carell as Gru, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, Elsie Fisher as Agnes, and Pierre Coffin as the Minions. A similar attraction (featuring a Japanese voice cast) opened on April 21, 2017 at Universal Studios Japan.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Felonious Gru[35] or Felonius Gru[36] is the main protagonist in the Despicable Me series (voiced by Steve Carell in a Russian accent): He is the disgruntled but unluckiest kind-hearted adoptive father of Margo, Edith, and Agnes, husband of Lucy, and the boss of the Minions. At the beginning of the original film, Gru is ambitious, and seeks approval from his mother, until the adoption of the trio convinces him that their happiness is important. In the second film, Gru leaves his villainous past behind to care for the girls, but then soon joins forces - unwillingly - with secret agent Lucy Wilde, whom he later marries. In the third film, after he and Lucy are fired from their jobs at the Anti-Villain League, Gru learns that he has a twin brother, Dru. Along with Lucy and the girls, Gru meets Dru at his mansion in Freedonia, and they form a brotherly relationship over the course of the film. Felonious Gru was originally conceived as a Dracula-like character, but directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin later opted for a villain who would echo "the world of James Bond, thinking of characters like Goldfinger and obviously the Bond-ian world of technology".[37] Gru also bears some similarities with British comic-book character Grimly Feendish, and with the pre-Crisis version of Lex Luthor.[38]
  • Minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin in all films and the theme park attraction, Chris Renaud in the first three films (except spin-offs and attractions), and Jemaine Clement as Jerry the Minion in the first film): Gru's small, yellow, comical henchmen who have one or two eyes. The Minions speak a language that Coffin created by mixing gibberish with words from many languages, including French, English, Spanish and Italian.[39][40] Although seemingly nonsensical, the English-sounding words are dubbed for every country, in order to make them recognizable.[41] It is shown in Minions that they have existed since the beginning of life on Earth, and desire above all else to serve the most terrible of villains.[42] In the short film "Banana", the Minions are revealed to have an uncontrollable craving for fruits, especially bananas. Mentioned in the films and other media are Stuart, Kevin, Bob, Mel, Dave,[43] Jerry,[44] Carl,[45] Tom,[44] Phil,[45] Tim,[45] Paul, Jorge,[46] Donny, Mark, Lance, Ken, Mike, John, Steve, Norbert, Tony, Chris, Eric, Henry, Lary, Josh, Darwin, Bryan, Charlie, Barry, and Peter.
  • The Girls: Three sisters, whom Gru adopts to further his scheme in the first film and gradually comes to love.
    • Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove): The oldest sister. In the first film, among the trio, Margo was the most suspicious of Gru initially; but came to trust him at the end of the film. She is something of a protectress to her sisters.
    • Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier): The tomboyish middle sister; the first to enjoy Gru's eclectic possessions, when adopted by him. Practices martial arts in the second film.
    • Agnes (voiced by Elsie Fisher (2010–2013); Nev Scharrel starting in the third film (2017)): The happy-go-lucky youngest sister, and the quickest to trust Gru in the first film. She is presented as an innocent, against her more worldly sisters, and has a strong love for unicorns. In the third film, she "adopts" a one-horned goat whom she names Lucky after mistaking him for a unicorn. Even after learning he was a goat, Agnes continues to love Lucky.
  • Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig): A cunning secret agent who has teamed up with Gru to hunt down an extremely dangerous super-villain. She loves one-upping Gru with her quirky gadgets and has perfected her own form of martial arts by combining jujitsu, krav maga, Aztec warfare and krumping. After 147 dates, she marries Gru and becomes the girls' mother.
  • Dr. Nefario (voiced by Russell Brand): Gru's hearing-impaired inventor and partner-in-crime. He seems to have a romantic interest in Gru's mother, Marlena. He is absent from the third film having accidentally frozen himself in carbonite, similar to that of Han Solo.
  • Dru (voiced by Steve Carell in a German accent): Gru's charming, happy-go-lucky long-lost twin brother, who is also in the super-villain business. Dru looks just like his brother, only he has blonde hair and wears white attire. He is Lucy's brother-in-law and the adoptive uncle of Margo, Edith, and Agnes.
  • Marlena (voiced by Julie Andrews): Gru and Dru's mother. Her neglect of Gru's ambitions is identified among the main reasons why he became a supervillain. In the denouement of the first film, she admits to him that he is a better parent than she. Marlena later makes a silent cameo appearance in the second film at Gru and Lucy's wedding. In the third film, Marlena reveals to Gru that after she and Gru and Dru's father divorced, they each got to take one son with them, with Marlena saying that she got "second pick".
  • Fritz (voiced by Steve Coogan): Dru's courteous, well mannered butler. He takes Gru, Lucy, and the girls to meet Dru at his mansion in Freedonia.
  • Silas Ramsbottom (voiced by Steve Coogan): Director of the Anti-Villain League in the second film. The Minions (and Gru) make fun of his surname. In the third film, he retires from the AVL and is replaced by Valerie Da Vinci as the new Director of the AVL.
  • Valerie Da Vinci (voiced by Jenny Slate): A ruthless member of the Anti-Villain League who replaces Silas Ramsbottom as Director in the third film. She fires Gru and Lucy due to them failing to capture Balthazar Bratt.

Villains[edit]

  • Victor "Vector" Perkins (voiced by Jason Segel): In the first film, Gru's rival, and the son of Mr. Perkins, the President of the Bank of Evil that supplies loans to villains in their schemes (formerly including Gru).
  • Eduardo "El Macho" Perez (voiced by Benjamin Bratt): A supervillain in the second film. As El Macho, he was believed to have died after strapping 250 pounds of TNT on himself and riding a shark into an active volcano. However, it turns out that he actually faked his death, and he became the owner of a Mexican restaurant. He has a son named Antonio, with whom Margo is infatuated at first, until Antonio abandons her. It turns out that Eduardo was aware of Gru's life as a villain and plans to abduct most of Gru's minions and turn them into hairy, purple, savage, evil minions with a dangerous chemical compound he stole called PX-41 and send the mutated Minions to major cities to take over the world. In the final battle, as Gru manages to restore the mutated Minions to normal, Eduardo drinks the compound himself, turning into a big purple furry monster to fight Gru. He is defeated by Gru and Nefario.
  • Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker): A supervillain in the third film. A former 1980s child star, he adopts the identity of his supervillain character after the onset of puberty leads to the cancellation of his television series. He is obsessed with 1980s pop culture and uses a giant robot armed with a laser and inflatable bubble gum to exact revenge on Hollywood.
  • Clive (voiced by Andy Nyman): a robot who acts as Balthazar Bratt's sidekick.
  • Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock): In Minions, she is the world's first female super-villain who is bent on world domination.
  • Herb Overkill (voiced by Jon Hamm): Scarlet's husband and an inventor.
  • Mr. Perkins (voiced by Will Arnett): The enormously fat and equally strong President of the Bank of Evil, responsible for giving out loans to villains in their schemes. It is unknown what happened to him following Vector's defeat.
  • Miss Hattie (voiced by Kristen Wiig): The charismatic but cruel owner of the orphanage from which Gru adopts his daughters. She sends Margo, Edith, and Agnes out to sell cookies and makes them sleep in cardboard boxes if they fail to meet their quota. It is unknown what happened to her following Gru's defeat of Vector and the girls' re-adoption.

Chronology[edit]

  1. Minions (2015)
  2. Minions 2 (2020)
  3. Orientation Day (2010)
  4. Banana (2010)
  5. Despicable Me (2010)
  6. Home Makeover (2010)
  7. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem (2012)
  8. Puppy (2013)
  9. Training Wheels (2013)
  10. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  11. Panic in the Mailroom (2013)
  12. Mower Minions (2016)
  13. Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Cast and crew[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

Despicable Me characters
Characters Main films Attraction Spin-off films
Despicable Me Despicable Me 2 Despicable Me 3 Minion Mayhem Minions Minions 2
Felonious Gru Steve Carell
Margo Miranda Cosgrove
Edith Dana Gaier
Agnes Elsie Fisher Nev Scharrel Elsie Fisher
Dr. Nefario Russell Brand Silent Cameo Silent Role Silent Cameo
Minions Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Jemaine Clement Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Pierre Coffin
Victor "Vector" Perkins Jason Segel
Mr. Perkins Will Arnett Silent Cameo
Marlena Julie Andrews Silent Role Julie Andrews Silent Cameo
Fred McDade Danny McBride Silent Cameo
Miss Hattie Kristen Wiig
Lucy Wilde Kristen Wiig
Eduardo Perez
El Macho
Benjamin Bratt Silent Cameo
Silas Ramsbottom Steve Coogan
Antonio Pérez Moisés Arias
Balthazar Bratt Trey Parker
Dru Steve Carell
Fritz Steve Coogan
Clive Andy Nyman
Valerie Da Vinci Jenny Slate
Scarlet Overkill Sandra Bullock
Herb Overkill Jon Hamm
Queen Elizabeth II Jennifer Saunders
Walter Nelson Michael Keaton
Madge Nelson Allison Janney

Principal crew[edit]

Role Main films Spin-offs
Despicable Me
(2010)
Despicable Me 2
(2013)
Despicable Me 3
(2017)
Minions
(2015)
Minions 2
(2020)
Director(s) Pierre Coffin
Chris Renaud
Pierre Coffin
Kyle Balda
Eric Guillion (Co-director)
Pierre Coffin
Kyle Balda
Kyle Balda
Brad Ableson (Co-director)[21]
Producer(s) Chris Meledandri
John Cohen
Janet Healy
Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
Writer(s) Screenplay:
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Story:
Sergio Pablos
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio Brian Lynch
Composer Heitor Pereira
Original Songs and Themes by:
Pharrell Williams
Heitor Pereira TBA
Editor(s) Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
Gregory Perler
Gregory Perler Claire Dodgson TBA

Film reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

The film series has grossed a total of $2.688 billion, with an average of $780.2 million per film,[47] making the Despicable Me franchise the second highest-grossing animated film franchise (behind Shrek), and the 15th highest-grossing film franchise.

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
worldwide
Despicable Me July 9, 2010 $251,513,985 $294,500,000 $546,000,000 #104 #153 $69 million [48]
Despicable Me 2 July 3, 2013 $368,061,265 $607,739,000 $975,800,000 #35
#119(A)
#32 $76 million [7]
Despicable Me 3 June 30, 2017 $213,322,700 $518,875,645 $732,198,345 $80 million [49]
Despicable Me films $832,897,950 $1,413,176,265 $2,246,074,215 $145 million
Minions July 10, 2015 $336,045,770 $833,000,000 $1,167,000,000 #46
#171(A)
#13 $74 million [50]
Total $1,168,943,720 $2,236,528,892 $3,405,472,612 #21 #18 $219 million [47][51]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Despicable Me 81% (192 reviews)[52] 72 (35 reviews)[53] A[54]
Despicable Me 2 73% (173 reviews)[6] 62 (39 reviews)[55] A[54]
Minions 56% (198 reviews)[56] 56 (35 reviews)[57] A[58]
Despicable Me 3 61% (150 reviews)[59] 49 (36 reviews)[60] A–[54]
Average 67% 61 A

References[edit]

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  8. ^ "Comcast's CEO Presents at Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference (Transcript)". Seeking Alpha. September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013. One of the real gems inside our company is Illumination the animation studio led by Chris Meledandri and Despicable Me 2, which came out this summer is the most profitable film in the 100 year history of the Universal and there will obviously be another reopening a film called Minions, which are the minions from Despicable Me next Christmas and then there will be Despicable Me 3. 
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  20. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 25, 2017). "‘Sing 2’ Set for Christmas Day 2020 Release". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b Ableson, Brad (19 July 2017). "Excited to share some news: I’m co-directing Minions 2! Proud 2 be working with @IllumEnt director Kyle Balda & writer @BrianLynch #minions2pic.twitter.com/MS5iylsFEJ". @BradAbleson. Twitter. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  22. ^ Calonge, Juan (September 22, 2010). "Despicable Me Blu-ray and 3D BD Announced". blu-ray.com. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
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  24. ^ Shaw, Lucas (July 5, 2013). "France Can Now Offer Film Productions 150 % More Money". The Wrap. Retrieved August 20, 2013. The animated short “Minions series,” which will screen next year with a spin-off of "Despicable Me," just qualified for a rebate, as did Eleanor Coppola's "Bonjour Anne." 
  25. ^ a b Universal Pictures (April 13, 2016). "Illumination Entertainment And Universal Pictures Announce Mower Minions, An All-New Short Film Starring The Minions, Will Debut In Theaters With The Secret Life Of Pets" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
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  35. ^ Baxter, Joseph (2015). "The Full Minions Trailer Is Really Goofy". cinemablend.com. Retrieved November 23, 2016. […] well before the days of their tenure with Felonious Gru […] 
  36. ^ Alexander, Bryan (April 12, 2014). "At Universal, the Minions 'have become our Mickey Mouse'". USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2016. […] into the Despicable Me world of supervillain Felonius Gru […] 
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  38. ^ Despicable Me Review, Empire, 1 October 2010
  39. ^ http://www.visualhollywood.com/movies_2013/despicable_me_2/notes.pdf
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  48. ^ "Despicable Me". Deadline. Retrieved July 7, 2017. 
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