Illumination Entertainment, News

BREAKING: ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Officially Set for July 13, 2018!

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Do you ever get that weird feeling that an off-hand prediction you made a long time ago actually came true, one way or another? That’s exactly how I felt with this breaking news story.

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have confirmed to Deadline earlier this afternoon that The Secret Life of Pets is indeed getting a sequel, just as the film crossed $400 million worldwide today.

Simply titled The Secret Life of Pets 2, the film is set for a July 13, 2018 release date. Nothing else has been revealed other than that director Chris Renaud will be back in the director’s chair (no news on if his co-director Yarrow Cheney will return) and Pets co-writer Brian Lynch will return to write the screenplay.

Now, surely everybody on this website must have seen this coming from miles away (and for good reason). So, why is this story noteworthy at all? Because I predicted that this was going to happen!

In October of last year, Illumination Entertainment set three release dates for untitled ‘franchise’ films: July 13, 2018; July 3, 2019; and July 10, 2020.

In that article, I said this: “Perhaps they hope The Secret Life of Pets and/or the untitled musical are potential franchise starters.” That was the first theory I brought up when talking about what Illumination meant by the words ‘franchise film.’ As it turns out, not only was I right about The Secret Life of Pets being a franchise starter, but it also confirmed a long-held suspicion I had ever since I wrote that article: Illumination Entertainment has reserved those dates for films that are installments of their respective franchises.

Now, let me end this on a bold prediction regarding the last two dates. Barring any surprises between now and then, July 3, 2019 will go to a Minions sequel. There’s no way they are letting the Depicable Me franchise rest after Despicable Me 3, and the titular Minions have long been the company’s mascot characters. Minions, which was released in July of last year, was Illumination’s first film to cross $1 billion (to the sound of rigorous controversy and heated debate). Color me surprised if Minions 2 doesn’t get announced for the 2019 slot.

July 10, 2020 will go to a Sing sequel or Despicable Me 4. The former is more of a stretch than the latter, but that’s only because we have yet to know if it will do that well at the box office (it probably will). As for Despicable Me 4… In addition to what I said above about Illumination not letting their flagship franchise go to rest, putting Despicable Me 4 on the 2020 window would theoretically follow in the franchises tradition of having a three-year break between each installment. Granted, Despicable Me 3 will break that tradition a little by rolling into theaters in 2017, roughly four years after Despicable Me bowed in 2013.

Once again, I would definitely be surprised if my predictions are false (and in a weird way, I welcome that). I’m sure there’s still room for a surprise from Illumination somewhere.

What do you think? Do you have any theories for Illumination ‘franchise’ films that take the two remaining dates?

Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.

  • Dante Panora

    2018? Don’t most animated sequels made for a cinematic release take at least three years of production? I think it will most likely get pushed back.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I’m thinking that too

    • brandon

      To me, there are two possibilities here. One, either Illumination was secretly developing a Pets sequel back then and they waited until today to confirm its existence. Or two, Pets 2 was fast-tracked in the wake of the first film’s success and Universal/Illumination are expecting a fast turnaround.

      • Manuel Orozco

        Most likely fast tracked

  • Manuel Orozco

    I like that we are getting a Secret Life of Pets 2! However, two years after seems too soon.

    • Adam Sadler (not Sandler)

      Its actually three years after.

  • A Morton

    A sequel this soon? In the words of Soos: ” Your freaking me out dude!”

  • Marielle

    I’m just surprised they are making The Secret Life of Pets 2 before Minions 2, otherwise the words “franchise film” were pretty self-explanatory.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Well I’m not sure about Minions 2. I say Minions was just the fine the way it ended.

      • Marielle

        They don’t have to set Minions 2 right after Minions, it could be set somewhere after the Despicable Me films. Personally, I don’t care about Minions, but they can’t ignore a billion dollar film.

        • Manuel Orozco

          Well I do care

          • Marielle

            Okay, that’s fair, so why do you think it wouldn’t work to make another movie set in a different time period with a different villain?

          • Manuel Orozco

            Well if Minions 2 does happen I will see it but with cautious optimism

  • Still need to see this movie, but hopefully it won’t be so bad or make this franchise worse 🙂

  • Dave 52

    My question is where can they go with a sequel? Will it still focus on Max and the gang or will it be focused on all new characters? What will the plot be? Well, I guess we will find out when it is released.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Most likely it will be another adventure with Max and friends

  • And in the sequel the rabbit will get most of the screen time on him and then a spin-off prequel will explain how he became what he is.

  • Harith Sami

    Let them start milking this franchise to see 3 sequels and a Kevin Hearts rabbit spin-off.

    • brandon

      So long as they keep Brian Lynch (arguably the best writer Illumination has in their camp) involved, the sequels should turn out okay.

      A lot of people were split on Kevin Hart’s character. I don’t think his character is enough of a breakout hit to warrant a solo film, but we’ll see.

      • Dave 52

        Actually, the guys who wrote Despicable Me 1 & 2 and were also the other writers of Pets are their best. Lynch is their second.

        • brandon

          Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio’s best stuff to date was the first Despicable Me. From that point, their writing ranges anywhere from decent to downright excruciatingly crappy (see: Hop and The Lorax). Brian’s not perfect, but he has a better track record and he knows how to construct a world and build a story where the core plot points actually keep you interested.

          In fact, it’s my personal belief that Minions would have actually been something of a revelation if Brian wasn’t hamstrung by the Illumination formula of storytelling.

          • Dave 52

            I thought the problem with Minions wasn’t really the storytelling standpoint more so the humor. It was at best okay and, with a few exceptions, wasn’t really laugh out loud funny. Also, with the exception of three films (HOP, The Lorax, and a little bit of Despicable Me 2) I do not really see what’s wrong with their storytelling.

          • brandon

            The humor aspect that you mentioned with Minions is part of what I was talking about with the Illumination formula. There’s too much of that ‘let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks’ type of humor in the film, and it draws attention away from the more positive aspects.

            Also, I know you are more willing to give them a break, but Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio are not really that good as writers. Illumination could do with more guys like Brian Lynch.

          • Dave 52

            What exactly do you mean by Illumination does “let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” humor? In their truly good films (Pets, Despicable Me 1 & 2) their humor was really good especially in Pets. It never drew or took away from the positive aspects of the film. Are some jokes not going to hit? Of course. It is not unusual for movies, especially comedies, to have some jokes that just don’t hit. But, when it comes to some of Illumination good films some of them most of the time have a really good sense of humor that either rarely has a not great joke or for one bad joke makes up for it with several other funny moments.

            As for the writers, I lean more towards Ken and Cinco more because they did get Illumination off their feet with Despciable Me and came back after The Lorax with Despicable Me 2. While Brian Lynch could surprise me with Pets 2 I just do not think he is their best writer. Not that he is bad it is just that after seeing Minions, which I had a lot of hope in especially seeining that Lynch wrote Puss In Boots, I was kind of dissapointed and thought it was just okay. The stuff with the minions going through time and serving different masters, meeting the super villain family, going to Villian Con, and the other minions making their way to London was really good but everything else was okay. Personally, I think Shaun The Sheep is a much better Minions than Minions. Not that I am comparing the two seeing as how they are two different films.

          • brandon

            Maybe I’m not a hardcore Illumination Entertanment fan, but Cinco and Ken have more misses than hits overall, and while they have their moments, that’s not enough to deflect the fact that when they are terrible, they are EXTRODINARLY terrible.

            Sure, Cinco and Ken were an essential element in constructing the Illumination Entertainment house style, but they need more writers and better writers at that.

            Also, it’s too often in most of Illumination’s movies that the humor takes over and all of a sudden, an entire second act is wasted on nonsense that dosen’t add up to anything before they finally resume the plot in the third act. I don’t mind something wacky and stupid as long as it makes me laugh, but when you are just tossing in mile-a-minute gags and bright colors to fill screen time that could have been devoted to character development and plot progression, that’s the point where I either groan or I pull out my smartphone to check the time (at home, of course).

          • Dave 52

            First off, Cinco and Paul have written a total of five films, three which are actually good (Despicable Me 1 and 2 and Horton Hears A Who!). So technically they do have more hits than misses. However, I will agree that when they are bad they are REALLY bad.

            Secondly, there is nothing wrong with having mile-a-minute gags constantly in your film, especially when that film is a full on comedy. What matters is if the gags are constantly funny and, with their actual good films, they are. It doesn’t really matter to me if they have bright colors and laugh-a-minute gags in replacement of plot pregression and character development as long they gags are funny and visuals are interesting to look at.

          • brandon

            First off, it’s Cinco and Ken, not Cinco and Paul. Second, they’ve written a total a 10 films (which was what I meant by overall). Four or five of those movies were good/decent. The rest were complete garbage. So to amend my previous statement, they have just as many misses as hits and you really can’t count upon them to be consistent in their writing.

            I know you are easily forgiving of a movie if you are entertained. Either that or I’m too jaded from having watched hundreds of animated movies at this point, but I just see a lot of problems with their current formula and these are problems that will only get worse if they don’t branch out and do different stuff. It’s happened before (look at DWA before Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon) and it could happen again.

            Sooner or later, it just won’t be enough to glide by on a bunch of gags at the expense of characters and story. That, to me, sounds like the animation equivalent of a Michael Bay movie. Technically impressive, but otherwise junk.

          • Dave 52

            I was talking about their writing work from an animation standpoint.

            Also, they are already doing something different with Sing. That film looks to be out of the ordinary for them, let us just hope that is in a good way.

            And I would not go as far as to even call Illumination the “animation equivalent of Michael Bay” because unlike Michael Bay they actually do sometimes make good films whereas an actual good film from Micheal Bay rarely, if ever, happens. They are more so a serviceable studio that can be hit or miss with their films. Also, unlike Michael Bay, what some of Illumnation good films lack in story they do make up for with a really good sense of humor and characters who are likeable while not being the most fully developed. With their good movies (Pets in particular) at least they still managed to make the movie entertaining, funny, and somewhat different in a good way despite the fact that we have seen some of the story before. With Michael Bay, particularly in Transformers, it’s literally the same thing over again and different in a bad way. He doesn’t try to make the film good and at least entertaining and fun despite the fact that it is the same style, it is the same thing beat for beat and it is tiresome and drawn out. At least with Illumination and their good directors and writers for their films they take their style and TRY to make the movie as good, fun, and entertaining as it can be with their style. Plus, they have a faster pace for certain films so it never does feel tiresome and there is never a dull moment to be found. Unlike Michael Bay who doesn’t want to try at all and rarely does. If Bay actually TRIED to make something good, fun, and entertaining with Transformers and his style rather than just trying to make a quick buck and not listen to the people who gave his film flak we probably would have an actually decent Transformer movie. At least with a movie like TMNT: Out Of The Shadows, while it does have it’s problems it still was a fun movie and you could definetly tell the people behind it actually tried to make something good and pay respect the orignal 80’s cartoon this time around and listen to the feedback from people who did not like the first film. Bay simply does not want to try, and at least with some of their actually good films, Illumination does.

            Sorry, about the little Michael Bay rant there.

          • Dave 52

            Also, BTW are you going to do an article on the new Storks trailer? Spoiler alert: It’s pretty funny and truly embraces Warner Brothers Looney Tunes roots with it’s cartoony and fast paced animation and it’s witty dialogue and very funny physical comedy and gags. From what I have so far if Warner Brothers plans to another Looney Tunes movie wether it be a solo character outing or an ensemble film I would say get they get this team making it. Also, speaking of Looney Tunes I heard that a new CG Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner short might play in front of the film which is equally exciting!

      • Harith Sami

        Being their best writer doesn’t mean he is good, the movie was formulaic, did anyone notice that was the exact premise of toy story, just replace the word toy with pet, just try.

        • brandon

          He is good, but Illumination Entertainment’s idea of what passes for good storytelling stops him from giving us something really cool.

        • Dave 52

          So? Just because a movie is formulaic and has a premise similar to another movie doesn’t mean it still can’t be entertaing and good. Pets was the movie that, while weak in it’s story, still managed to be entertaining and good with it’s great humor and fun characters held up by the voice cast. If a movie like Storks is formulaic (and from the looks of the trailer it probably is) it won’t matter that much if they can still make it a good and entertaining movie with good humor and likeable characters to hold it up.

  • lillypad2114

    Oh my Thor… WHYYYYY?!?!
    As Doug Walker would say:
    “The Cash cow says?!”

    • Dave 52

      Yeah, because it is totally out of the ordinary for a movie that ended up being very successful reception wise and box office wise to immediately get a sequel or spin off and because it is getting a sequel or spin off that obviously means it is going to be a cash grab or cash cow with no actual quality. Well, I guess films like Wreck It Ralph 2, The Lego Movie Sequel, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and anything else that is a sequel or spin off are just going to suck then and be just cash cows without any possibility of being good.

      • lillypad2114

        Yeah I can see your point with those other movies such as Wreck-It Ralph 2 or The Incredibles 2 which have more story to tell and we’ve been waiting on a sequel with them. As for Toy Story 4 yes I do think it’s milking the cash cow. Pixar knows that Toy Story is financially and critically successful which really irritates me that they are ruining a perfectly closed trilliogy with a fourth. As for Secret life of Pets, it was a cute movie well animated but doesn’t need a sequel. I could actually see it being more of a tv series/short films. Don’t get me wrong I love a good sequel but you can always tell when there’s actually one needed and then there’s one just greenlit because of how much money the film makes.

        • Dave 52

          Just because a sequel sounds like a cash grab or is unnecessary that doesn’t mean that movie can’t possibly be good. Finding Dory is a perfect example. When it was announced everyone thought it was unnecessary and thought it was a cash grab but in the end it ended up being a great film and a worthy sequel to the original. Who is to say the same thing can’t possibly happen with Toy Story 4 and that Pets 2 can’t be good. Heck, there are some movies that aren’t sequels that when announced sounded like pretty unnecessary or like cash grabs but ended up being great movies (a certain movie based on a certain toy comes to mind). There is possibilities, uncessary or not, that the movie in the end could be good and just because we don’t know what they could do in a sequel doesn’t mean they don’t know.

  • Wow, that was quick, although I feel Universal had planned for this to be a franchise from the beginning. Anyway, I shockingly liked the first one (8/10). Hope the squeal is good.