Despicable Me (franchise)

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Despicable Me
Despicable Me logo.svg
Creator Sergio Pablos[1]
Films and television
Short films
Video games
Theme parks

Despicable Me is a computer-animated comedy film franchise distributed by Universal Pictures and produced by Illumination Entertainment, that consists of three feature films, six short films and additional merchandise. It centers on Gru, a super-villain (who later becomes a dad and superhero); his yellow-coloured Minions; and his three orphan kids, Margo, Edith and Agnes. It began with the 2010 film, Despicable Me, and its 2013 sequel, Despicable Me 2. A spin-off/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.


Despicable Me (2010)[edit]

Main article: Despicable Me

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]

Main article: Despicable Me 2

A sequel, titled Despicable Me 2, released on July 3, 2013, was directed again 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[3] reprise their roles as Gru, Doctor Nefario, Margo, Edith and Agnes, respectively.[4] 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, the film's main antagonist;[5] Bratt replaced the previously cast Al Pacino.[6] Steve Coogan voices Silas Ramsbottom, lead director of the Anti-Villain League (AVL).[4] The sequel was met with positive reviews and grossed more than its predecessor with over $970 million worldwide.[7][8]

Despicable Me 3 (2017)[edit]

Steve Burke, the NBCUniversal CEO, confirmed in September 2013, that a third film in the Despicable Me series is in the works.[9] In January 2014, it was announced to be released on June 30, 2017.[10] Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the writers of the first two films, will also return to write the screenplay for the third film.[11]


Minions (2015)[edit]

Main article: Minions (film)

A spin-off prequel feature film, featuring the Minions as the protaganists, was released on July 10, 2015.[12] Written by Brian Lynch, it was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healey.[13] Sandra Bullock voiced Scarlet Overkill, the villain of the film[14] and Jon Hamm voiced her husband and inventor, Herb Overkill.[15]

The film focuses on the Minions, which are yellow creatures who have existed since the beginning of time, serving history's most ambitious villains. Destroying all bad guys through their ineptitude, the story picks up in 1968, where three of the Minions (Kevin, Bob and Stuart) set out to find a new evil master. Arriving at a villain convention, they compete for the right to be henchmen for Scarlet Overkill, the first stylish and ambitious female super-villain.[14][15]

The spin-off met with mixed reviews, grossing over $1 billion, outgrossing the main movies, making it the 23rd film to gross over $1 billion and the 3rd animated film to do so, after Toy Story 3 and Frozen.

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.[16] Despicable Me 2 DVD and Blu-ray release in 2013 included another three short films: Puppy, Panic in the Mailroom, and Training Wheels.[17] A series of Minions short films will screen in 2015 with Minions.[18]

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.

Training Wheels (2013)[edit]

Agnes is unsatisfied with her toy bike after collapsing off it while riding to get ice cream. Three minions then volunteer to modify it and help Agnes improve her skills.


Main characters[edit]

  • Felonious Gru (voiced by Steve Carell): The protagonist of the Despicable Me franchise. He is the adoptive father of Margo, Edith, and Agnes, and the current 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.
  • The Girls: Gru's three adoptive daughters, whom he constantly seeks to please.
    • Margo (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove): Gru's oldest daughter. In the original film, among the trio, Margo was the most suspicious of Gru initially; but came to trust him in the epilogue. She is something of a protectress to her sisters.
    • Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier): The tomboyish middle daughter; the first to enjoy Gru's eclectic possessions, when adopted by him. Practices martial arts in the second film.
    • Agnes (voiced by Elsie Fisher): The happy-go-lucky youngest child, and the quickest to trust Gru in the initial film. She is sometimes presented as an innocent, against her more worldly sisters.
  • Minions: Gru's small, yellow, comical henchmen who have one or two eyes. The Minions mostly speak their own polyglot-like language called "Minionese", which is partly derived from French, English, Italian, Spanish and Hindi language.[19][20] Although seemingly nonsensical, the English-sounding words are dubbed for every country, in order to make them recognizable.[21] 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.[22] In the short film "Banana", the Minions are revealed to have an uncontrollable craving for fruits, especially bananas. The principal minions are Kevin, Bob and Stuart. Bob always carries his teddy bear with him and befriends small animals. Mentioned in the films and other media are Dave,[23] Stuart,[24] Kevin,[24] Jerry,[25] Carl,[24] Phil,[24] Paul, Jorge,[26] Tim,[24] Donny, Mark, Lance, Mike, Ken, Tom,[25] John, Steve, Norbert, and Bob.
  • Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig): is 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 (voiced by Julie Andrews): Gru'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 him to be a better parent than herself. She later makes a silent cameo appearance in the second film at Gru and Lucy's wedding.
  • Silas Ramsbottom (voiced by Steve Coogan): Director of the Anti-Villain League in Despicable Me 2. The minions (and Gru) make fun of his surname.


  • Victor "Vector" Perkins (voiced by Jason Segel): The main antagonist of the first film; Gru's rival, and and the son of Mr. Perkins, the President of the Bank of Evil that supplies loans to villains in their schemes (formerly including Gru).
  • 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 in a Southern accent): The charismatic but cruel owner of the orphanage from which Gru adopts his daughters. She often uses child labor to punish her charges.
  • Eduardo Perez/El Macho (voiced by Benjamin Bratt; formerly by Al Pacino, who left a month before the film's premiere): A supervillain and the primary antagonist of the second film. As El Macho, he was believed to have died after strapping 250 lbs. 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 kidnap most of Gru's minions and mutate them into purple-furred monsters 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 furry monster to fight Gru. He is defeated by Gru and Nefario.
  • Meena: A stalker and very bad girl. She only appears in Despicable Me: Minion Rush where, she is the boss of Gru's Street. She launched Cookie-Bots to the Selected Minion, but if this the elusive, defeating ends, so says she will tell her mom.
  • Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock): The antagonist of the film Minions. She the world's first female super-villain who is fierce and bent on world domination.

Principal cast[edit]

Despicable Me characters
Character Main films Spin-offs Short films Other
Despicable Me Despicable Me 2 Despicable Me 3 Minions Home Makeover Orientation Day Banana Puppy Panic in the Mailroom Training Wheels Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Felonious Gru Steve Carell Silent Role Silent Role Steve Carell
Dr. Nefario Russell Brand Silent Cameo Silent Cameo
Margo Miranda Cosgrove Miranda Cosgrove Silent Role Miranda Cosgrove
Edith Dana Gaier Dana Gaier Silent Role Dana Gaier
Agnes Elsie Fisher Elsie Fisher Silent Role Elsie Fisher
Minions Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Jemaine Clement Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud TBD Pierre Coffin
Vector Jason Segel
Mr. Perkins Will Arnett
Marlena Julie Andrews Silent Role Silent Cameo
Miss Hattie Kristen Wiig
Lucy Wilde Kristen Wiig
Silas Ramsbottom Steve Coogan
El Macho Benjamin Bratt
Scarlet Overkill Sandra Bullock
Herb Overkill Jon Hamm
Note: A gray cell indicates that the character did not appear in that medium.

Principal crew[edit]

Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor
Main series
Despicable Me Pierre Coffin
Chris Renaud
Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
John Cohen
Cinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Sergio Pablos
Heitor Pereira
Pharrell Williams
Gregory Perler
Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland
Despicable Me 2 Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
Cinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Gregory Perler
Despicable Me 3 TBA TBA TBA TBA
Minions Pierre Coffin
Kyle Balda
Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
Brian Lynch Heitor Pereira Claire Dodgson


For more details on the reception of each film, see the "Reception" section on each film's article.

Box office performance[edit]

The film series has grossed a total of $2.668 billion, with an average of $889.4 million per film,[27] making the Despicable Me franchise the third highest-grossing animated film franchise (behind Shrek and Ice Age), and the 18th highest-grossing film franchises. Despicable Me franchise is the only animated franchise to have two spots in the top five highest-grossing animated films of all time.[28]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Despicable Me July 9, 2010 $251,513,985 $291,600,000 $543,113,985 #89 #125 $69,000,000 [29]
Despicable Me 2 July 3, 2013 $368,061,265 $602,700,620 $970,761,885 #28
#25 $76,000,000 [8]
Despicable Me films $619,575,250 $894,300,620 $1,513,875,870 $145,000,000
Minions July 10, 2015 $334,849,695 $819,533,183 $1,154,382,878 #36
#10 $74,000,000 [30]
Total $954,424,945 $1,713,833,803 $2,668,258,748 #21 #18 $219,000,000 [31][27]
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% (191 reviews)[32] 72 (35 reviews)[33] A[34]
Despicable Me 2 75% (165 reviews)[7] 62 (39 reviews)[35] A[34]
Minions 54% (173 reviews)[36] 56 (35 reviews)[37] A[38]

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.[39] 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.[39] Instead of controlling Gru himself, the player controls his Minions.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush[edit]

Despicable Me: Minion Rush app logo

A mobile action video game (developed by Gameloft), titled Despicable Me: Minion Rush, also played as a Minion who must defeat Vector and a villain made for the game, was released with the second film, on iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Android and Blackberry 10 devices.[40][41][42]

Minions Paradise[edit]

Main article: Minions Paradise

A free-to-play mobile game developed by Electronic Arts, titled Minions Paradise, was released in summer 2015.[43] Playing as Phil, players will help Minions design and build their own utopia set in a tropical environment.[43]


Novels written by Annie Auerbach are based on the films.[44][45][46]

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.


  1. ^ "Despicable Me". The SPA Studios. Archived from the original on December 6, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gaier, Dana (June 26, 2012). "@Emilyxoxo708 yes, i was the voice of edith in despicable me and i am working on the sequel :)". Twitter. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Racheal (July 2, 2012). "Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is now open at Universal Studios". Behind the Thrills. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Kit, Borys (May 1, 2012). "Steve Coogan Joining Voice Cast for 'Despicable Me 2' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Al Pacino Departs Despicable Me 2". CraveOnline. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike (February 3, 2012). "Al Pacino Makes Animated Film Debut In ‘Despicable Me 2′". Deadline. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
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  8. ^ a b "Despicable Me 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "Despicable Me 3 and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas Set for 2017". January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ "‘Despicable Me’ Screenwriter Discusses Local Honor, Theme Park Attraction". Conejo Valley Happening. Retrieved July 24, 2015. We just started writing Despicable Me 3,... 
  12. ^ "Universal Dates Minions Movie Dec. 19, 2014". Deadline. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (July 23, 2012). "Illumination And Universal Hatch ‘Despicable Me’ Spinoff About The Minions". Deadline. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (February 11, 2013). "Sandra Bullock To Voice Super-Villain In ‘Minions’ Spinoff For Illumination/Universal". Deadline. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (April 30, 2013). "At Illumination, Jon Hamm Lends Voice To ‘Minions’ Movie; Tito Ortiz Returns As Executive". Deadline. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ Calonge, Juan (September 22, 2010). "Despicable Me Blu-ray and 3D BD Announced". Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray". Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  18. ^ 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." 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "'Despicable Me 2' Minions: 5 Things to Know". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ Debruge, Peter (June 11, 2015). "Chris Meledandri on How the ‘Minions’ Came to Life". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Exclusive: The Synopsis for Minions". June 18, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Despicable Me Minion Dave Plush". Universal Orlando. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c d e Standal, Jeanne (June 28, 2013). "Meet The Minions: DESPICABLE ME 2 Character Posters With Phil, Carl, Tim, Kevin & Stuart". FilmoFilia. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Desicable Me 2". Happy Meal Toys Collection. June 19, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Despicable Me Minion Jorge Plush". Universal Orlando. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Franchises - Despicable Me". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Despicable Me". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Minions (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Franchise Index". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Despicable Me (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Despicable Me". Metacritic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "CinemaScore". Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Despicable Me 2". Metacritic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Minions (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Minions". Metacritic. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  38. ^ Busch, Anita (July 13, 2015). "‘Minions’ Is No. 2 Top Animated Opener With $115.7M – Box Office Final". Deadline. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  39. ^ a b D3Publisher (July 6, 2010). "D3Publisher Launches Despicable Me TM: The GameTM for Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PlayStation®2 System and PSP® System" (Press release). Business Wire. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  40. ^ O'Connel, Sean (May 30, 2013). "'Despicable Me' Game: Our Exclusive First Look at 'Minion Rush'". Fandango. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Gameloft, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment Launch "Despicable Me: Minion Rush"". PR Newswire. June 13, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  42. ^ Adam, Zeis (October 16, 2013). "Despicable Me: Minion Rush lands on BlackBerry 10". Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  43. ^ a b Morris, Chris (April 7, 2015). "‘Minions Paradise,’ Other Mobile Games Set Under EA Pact with Illumination and Universal". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2015. 
  44. ^ "AudioFile audiobook review: DESPICABLE ME By Annie Auerbach, Read by Tim Curry". AudioFile. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Book Reviews - Despicable Me: The Junior Novel by Annie Auerbach". DogoBooks. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Despicable Me 2: The Junior Novel by Annie Auerbach". Goodreads. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]