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Illumination Entertainment

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Illumination Entertainment
Subsidiary
Industry Film
Founded 2007; 10 years ago (2007)
Founder Chris Meledandri
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, United States
Key people
Janet Healy
Eddie Egan[1]
Natalie Fischer (COO)[2]
Products Animated films
Owner Chris Meledandri[3][4]
NBCUniversal[3]
Number of employees
35 (2012)[2]
300 (Illumination Mac Guff) (2012)[2]
Subsidiaries Illumination Mac Guff
Website Official website

Illumination Entertainment is an American animation film production company, founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007. It is owned by Meledandri and Universal Studios,[3][4][5] a division of NBCUniversal, with Universal fully financing and owning all the films.[4] The company is best known for the Despicable Me franchise and the films The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. The Minions, characters from the Despicable Me films, are the studio's official mascots.

The studio's highest-grossing films are Minions (2015), which has grossed $1.159 billion worldwide; Despicable Me 2 (2013), which has grossed $970.8 million worldwide; and The Secret Life of Pets (2016), which grossed $875.5 million worldwide.

History[edit]

Meledandri left his post as President of 20th Century Fox Animation in early 2007 where he supervised or executive produced movies including Ice Age (2002), its sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Robots (2005), and Horton Hears a Who! (2008). After leaving, he founded Illumination Entertainment. By 2008, a deal was announced positioning Illumination as NBCUniversal’s family entertainment arm that would produce one to two films a year starting in 2010. As an independent production company, Illumination retains creative control and Universal exclusively distributes the films.[6] During the summer 2011, Illumination acquired the animation department of the French animation and visual effects studio Mac Guff, which animated Despicable Me (2010) and The Lorax (2012), and formed Illumination Mac Guff.[7][8][9]

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced its intent to acquire competing studio DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. Meledandri will oversee both studios following the completion of the merger.[10][11] On August 22, 2016, the acquisition was completed.[12]

Process[edit]

Meledandri is determined to keep his company adhering to a low-cost model, recognizing that "strict cost controls and hit animated films are not mutually exclusive".[13] In an industry where movie expenses often exceed $100 million, Illumination's first two releases were completed with significantly lower budgets, considering Despicable Me's $69 million budget and the $63 million budget of Hop.[13] One way the company sustains a lean financial model is by employing cost-conscious animation techniques that lower the expenses and render times of its computer graphics.[13]

Projects[edit]

The studio's first film, 3D CGI feature, Despicable Me, starring Steve Carell, was released on July 9, 2010, and was a smash hit, earning $56 million on its opening weekend, and going on to earn $251 million domestically and $543 million worldwide. Illumination's second film was the live action/CGI hybrid Hop (2011), starring Russell Brand and James Marsden. The film opened to a much bigger than expected $37 million opening, and ended up with $108 million domestically and $183 million worldwide. In 2012, an adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, debuted on March 2 earning $70 million on its opening weekend, and eventually found its way to $214 million stateside and $348 million worldwide. The studio's first sequel, Despicable Me 2, opened in the United States on July 3, 2013, earning worldwide over $964 million,[14] becoming the second highest-grossing 2013 animated film and breaking a record as the most profitable Universal Studios film in its 100-year history.[15] The spin-off to Despicable Me, titled Minions, was released on July 10, 2015.[16] It has grossed over $1 billion worldwide. It was then followed by two original animated stories.[3]

The Secret Life of Pets was released on July 8, 2016.[17] Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, it features Louis C.K. as a Jack Russell Terrier named Max,[18] Eric Stonestreet as a mongrel named Duke, and Kevin Hart as a rabbit named Snowball.[19] Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, and Albert Brooks also provide voices in the film.[20] The second film, Sing, a comedy about "courage, competition and carrying a tune," written and directed by Garth Jennings, was released on December 21, 2016.[21] Despicable Me 3 is scheduled to be released on June 30, 2017, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas on November 9, 2018, directed by Pete Candeland and Yarrow Cheney from an adaptation by Michael LeSieur,[21] and The Secret Life of Pets 2 on July 3, 2019, while Minions 2 is scheduled to be released on July 3, 2020, and Sing 2 is scheduled to be released in time for the holiday season on December 25, 2020.[22] It will be followed by four more untitled films; the release dates are: July 2, 2021; July 1, 2022; December 21, 2022; and June 30, 2023.[23]

Other films in development include the animated feature adaptation of books like Ricky Gervais' Flanimals, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat and Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, and the spec script Johnny Express.

In May 2011, Illumination announced that it would be working with Universal Studios to create Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, a 3-D ride at Universal Studios in Orlando and Hollywood.[24] The ride officially opened on July 2, 2012, in Orlando and in Hollywood on April 12, 2014.

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Released films[edit]

# Title Release date Budget[25] Gross[25] RT MC[26]
1 Despicable Me July 9, 2010 $69 million $543.1 million 81% 72
2 Hop April 1, 2011 $63 million $184 million 25% 41
3 Dr. Seuss' The Lorax March 2, 2012 $70 million $348.8 million 53% 46
4 Despicable Me 2 July 3, 2013 $76 million $970.8 million 73% 62
5 Minions July 10, 2015 $74 million $1.159 billion 56% 56
6 The Secret Life of Pets July 8, 2016 $75 million $875.5 million 74% 61
7 Sing December 21, 2016 $75 million $528.3 million 73% 59

Upcoming films[edit]

Title Release date Ref(s)
Despicable Me 3 June 30, 2017 [27][28]
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas November 9, 2018 [27][29][30]
The Secret Life of Pets 2 July 3, 2019 [31][31][32][33]
Minions 2 July 3, 2020 [31][33]
Sing 2 December 25, 2020 [31][33]
Untitled film July 2, 2021 [23]
Untitled film July 1, 2022 [23]
Untitled film December 21, 2022 [23]
Untitled film June 30, 2023 [23]

Films in development[edit]

Title Ref(s)
Flanimals [3][34]
The Cat in the Hat [35]
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase [36]
Johnny Express [37][38]

Short films[edit]

Title Release date
Home Makeover, Orientation Day and Banana December 14, 2010
Brad & Gary[39][40][41] 2011
Phil's Dance Party[42] March 23, 2012
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem July 2, 2012
Serenade, Wagon-Ho and Forces of Nature[43] August 7, 2012
Puppy, Panic in the Mailroom and
Training Wheels
[44]
December 10, 2013
Cro Minion, Competition and Binky Nelson Unpacified[45] December 8, 2015
Mower Minions[46] July 8, 2016
Norman Television and Weenie[47] December 6, 2016
Gunter Babysits, Love at First Sight, and Eddie's Life Coach[48] March 21, 2017

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming, Mike (May 15, 2011). "Universal Marketing Head Eddie Egan Moving To Top Illumination Post". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike (August 7, 2012). "Chris Meledandri's Illumination Names Natalie Fischer COO". Deadline. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Debruge, Peter (July 17, 2013). "Illumination Chief Chris Meledandri Lines Up Originals for Universal". Variety. Retrieved September 13, 2013. After the Minion movie, the next two movies will return to telling completely original stories. 
  4. ^ a b c Kilday, Gregg (December 9, 2016). "Illumination's Chris Meledandri Talks Success Secrets, Rumors He'll Head DreamWorks". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Why Illumination Entertainment Is One Of The Most Innovative Companies Of 2017". Fast Company. February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  6. ^ Fleming, Michael (March 6, 2008). "Meledandri, Universal team on deals". Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike (November 14, 2011). "Universal Pictures Buys Paris Animation Unit For Chris Meledandri's Illumination". Deadline. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ "ILLUMINATION MAC GUFF (PARIS 15) Chiffre d'affaires, résultat, bilans sur SOCIETE.COM - 533478434". www.societe.com. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  9. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (December 12, 2011). "Universal benefit in Mac Guff accord". Variety. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  11. ^ "NBCUniversal Unveils New DreamWorks Annimation Senior Management". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (August 22, 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion Purchase of DreamWorks Animation". Variety. Retrieved October 27, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c Barnes, Brooks (April 3, 2011). "For Illumination Entertainment, Animation Meets Economic Reality". Nytimes.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Despicable Me 2 (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Szalai, Georg (July 31, 2013). "NBCUniversal CEO: 'Despicable Me 2' Will Be Most Profitable Film in Universal's History". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  16. ^ Fleming, Mike (February 11, 2013). "Sandra Bullock To Voice Super-Villain In 'Minions' Spinoff For Illumination/Universal". Deadline. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ Shaw, Lucas (February 12, 2013). "Universal Dates Mystery Illumination Movie for 2015". The Wrap. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 24, 2014). "Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet to Voice Pets in Animated Movie From 'Despicable Me' Team". The Wrap. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  19. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (January 24, 2014). "Chris Meledandri's Illumination Sets Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet And Kevin Hart For 3D Animated 'Pets' Pic At Universal". Deadline. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ Sneider, Jeff. "Albert Brooks in Negotiations for Illuminations 'Pets' Project; 4 More Join Voice Cast (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "'Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release; 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas' Arrives Five Months Later". Deadline. January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  22. ^ http://variety.com/2015/film/news/illumination-movie-release-dates-universal-1201617998/
  23. ^ a b c d e Yee, Lawrence (February 2, 2017). "Illumination, Universal Add Four More Animated Films to Slate". Variety. Retrieved February 2, 2017. 
  24. ^ Vary, Adam B. (May 19, 2011). "Universal Parks announces new 'Despicable Me' ride, and a major face-lift for 'Spider-Man'". EW.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Illumination Entertainment Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Illumination Entertainment's Profile". Metacritic. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Universal Dates 'Despicable Me 3,' New 'Grinch Who Stole Christmas'". The Hollywood Reporter. November 17, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  28. ^ Bond, Paul (September 11, 2013). "Steve Burke: NBC's Ratings Woes Hurting Revenues". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2013. A third film is in the works, as is a Christmastime spinoff about the Minions. 
  29. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 8, 2013). "Universal, Illumination to reboot 'The Grinch'". Variety. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ Robinson, Will (June 7, 2016). "Benedict Cumberbatch's How The Grinch Stole Christmas delayed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  31. ^ a b c d McNary, Dave (October 14, 2015). "Three Untitled Illumination Movies Get Dates Through 2020". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  32. ^ Perry, Spencer (August 2, 2016). "The Secret Life of Pets 2 Officially Set for 2018!". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  33. ^ a b c Kroll, Justin (January 25, 2017). "'Sing 2' Set for Christmas Day 2020 Release". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  34. ^ Fleming, Michael (April 28, 2009). "Gervais' 'Flanimals' heads to bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  35. ^ Fleming, Mike (March 15, 2012). "Dr. Seuss' 'The Cat In The Hat' Get Another Life At Chris Meledandri's Illumination". Deadline. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  36. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 24, 2012). "Illumination, U acquire 'Lockwood' series". Variety. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  37. ^ Byung-yeul, Baek (May 19, 2015). "'Despicable Me' founder shares secret of success". The Korea Times. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  38. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (July 9, 2015). "'Minions' Maker Illumination Forges Pact With South Korean Animator Kyungmin Woo, Options His Short 'Johnny Express' For Feature". Deadline. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Brad & Gary". Seattle International Film Festival. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Brad & Gary". IMDb. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  41. ^ King, Susan (February 2, 2013). "40th Annie Award nominees and winners list". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  42. ^ Katz, Josh (January 9, 2012). "Hop Blu-ray". Blu-ray. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  43. ^ Universal Studios Home Entertainment (June 5, 2012). "From Universal Studios Home Entertainment: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray". MovieMail.com. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Minions Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Minions short film". SlashFilm.com. April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016. 
  47. ^ Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (October 4, 2016). "From Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures: The Secret Life of Pets" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 5, 2016. 
  48. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (February 14, 2017). "Illumination Entertainment's 'Sing' Headed to Retail". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]