Despicable Me now the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time

Ben Arnold
Winners… Despicable Me beats Shrek to become the highest-grossing animation franchise – Credit: Illumination

It’s official… the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise has become the highest-grossing animated movie franchise of all time.

It’s topped the previous title holder, ‘Shrek’, which held the top slot with its five movies (including the ‘Puss In Boots’ spin-off) thanks to a haul of $3.51 billion.

Gru and his minions have made $3.528 billion thanks to the three ‘Despicable Me’ movies, plus the ‘Minions’ spin-off from 2015.

That movie alone is the second highest-grossing animation of all time.

‘Despicable Me 3’ is currently cruising at $880 million worldwide, despite middling reviews, with a handful of releases in Europe still to come.

(Credit: Illumination)

Made by Illumination Entertainment, launched by former 20th Century Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri, the first ‘Despicable Me’ movie arrived in 2010, with Steve Carell voicing repentant supervillain turned good guy, Gru.

It made an impressive $561 million from its $69 million budget.

Its sequel in 2013 then cleaned up with a haul of $976 million worldwide, before the spin-off ‘Minions’, focussing on Gru’s small yellow henchmen, made a staggering $1.167 billion in 2015.

Thanks in no small measure to the massive success of the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise, plus other hits like ‘Sing’ and ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, Illumination took over rival studio DreamWorks Animation last summer.

Upcoming movies from the studio include a new version of ‘The Grinch’ next year, then sequels to ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ in 2019, then a ‘Minions’ sequel in 2020, and ‘Sing 2’, also in 2020.

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