Illumination Entertainment, The Latest Animation News

‘Despicable Me’ becomes highest grossing animated film franchise

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Despicable Me 3 Minions

With this weekend’s box office earnings totaled up, the Despicable Me franchise has officially become the highest grossing animated film series worldwide.

This honor previously belonged to DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek franchise, which included a total of five films (including Puss in Boots) from 2001-2011. The four Despicable Me films (including 2015’s Minions) currently top out at $3.528 billion globally, compared to the Shrek films’ $3.51 billion.

All four of the films in the DM franchise thus far have proven successful for Illumination Entertainment, all helmed by Chris Meledandri and produced at reasonable budgets. The first film in the franchise earned $546 million globally in 2010. The 2013 sequel, Despicable Me 2, easily beat that out with $976 million globally. Minions, a sort of prequel to the franchise, became the highest grossing animated film of 2015 and the second highest grossing animated film of all time with $1.159 billion (

As of now, this summer’s Despicable Me 3 has made a grand total of $879.5 million globally, including a hefty $149.2 million in the PROC (People’s Republic of China), where DM3 is currently the second highest-grossing animated movie ever, behind only last year’s Zootopia.

Despicable Me 3 is still playing in theaters, and is expected to reach over $900 million before its run ends.


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About Amber

Amber is an imaginative storyteller and visual artist whose greatest ambition is to tell meaningful stories that resonate with people. Since she was young, Amber has enjoyed escaping to faraway worlds through animation, and has continued to follow animation into adulthood because of its limitless storytelling possibilities. Picking favorites is nearly impossible, but Amber would say her top animated films include The Little Mermaid, The Incredibles, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Frozen. She graduated with a B.A. in Interactive Media/Graphic Design and a minor in Journalism, and is currently working as an advertising designer. When she’s not at her day job, Amber can be found working on digital illustrations and photo edits, drafting a new fiction story, or crafting a new cosplay. Send her a tweet at @amber_ld.
  • *groans*

  • Manuel Orozco

    Despicable Me and Shrek cannot be compared! Both franchises are unique in their own way.

  • ValkarieandherInventorChief

    Such a shame these movies make such dough considering I’d rather hear Toy Story broke this or Shrek considering more plot and actual effort put into those.

  • Yellow


  • I think that’s really impressive, you go Illumination! 😀

  • Congrats to them! I loved the first two films, and Minions was alright/average. I am happy to see new ideas and characters hit the market (especially over Disney’s new habit of “let’s remake EVERYTHING in our copyright holdings!”) so happy to see quality work is being rewarded.

    • Manuel Orozco

      DM 1 DM 3 and Minions were on par to me. 2nd one was the best. I’m not in favor of most of Disney’s planned remakes either. And good to know the franchise is maintaining a bit of quality.

  • Good for them, I genuinely enjoy these movies, especially when it’s not my favorite genre. If comedies are going to be the top earners then I’m glad it’s these. I just couldn’t stand Shrek movies when I was younger, not my style I guess.
    DM2 was my favourite but the new one was cute too. I really appreciate the tender moments they give Gru and the other characters, they do a great job making him feel like a real personality. I can see why some people are tired of the yellow guys (ok I’ll admit I haven’t seen Minions yet) but for some reason they don’t bother me, maybe the pacing is just good. I like the looney tunes-ish humor and the colorful stretchy designs in these movies, it’s fun a fun lighthearted escape.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I enjoyed the Shrek movies but satire isn’t my ususal style either. I agree with everything else you said. Minions is good I’ve seen it twice now. I expected better effort from it.

  • Manuel Orozco

    What do you mean by that?

    • You know…

      The stupid minions and their brainless nonsense! That’s what I’m talking about. In fact, that’s how I feel about the whole Despicable Me franchise.

      Just pure brainless nonsense.

      • Manuel Orozco

        I just appreciate they are kindhearted simpletons beneath their backstory. I thought it was going to be brainless too because of how Gru starts out as this wannabe super villain desperate to pull off the biggest crime of the century.

  • Landon Kemp

    Screw Illumination. I’ve only seen two of their films (Despicable Me and The Lorax) and neither of them are that good. I have not heard good things about any of their others, either, and I refuse to give any more of my money to these talentless hacks. The fact that their vapid and meaningless movies still make a crap-ton of money makes me question my belief in humanity.