With its fourth entry – Despicable Me 3 – edging towards $950 million at the box office, making it the biggest film of the summer, Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me franchise has now topped Shrek to become the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
The series, which launched in 2010, has grossed a combined $3.622 billion around the globe, with its last three instalments all surpassing $900 million. Leading the way is the spinoff Minions, which earned $1.159 billion back in 2015. For comparison, the five Shrek movies earned $3.511 billion between 2001 and 2011.
Both series do have further instalments planned, with Minions 2 slated for release in 2020 and Shrek 5 planned for either 2019 or 2020. Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves was also originally due to hit cinemas in 2018, but has been removed from DreamWorks’ release schedule and is yet to receive a new date.
Illumination, who brought audiences Despicable Me and the biggest animated hits of 2013 and 2015, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, continues the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions in Despicable Me 3. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, the animated film is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud.
Joining Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 3 is Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Trey Parker, co-creator of Comedy Central’s global phenomenon South Park and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon. Parker voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s, and proves to be Gru’s most formidable nemesis to date.