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Illumination Entertainment

Illumination Entertainment

Animation film production company for Sing

Illumination Entertainment is an American animation film production company, founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007. It is owned by Meledandri and Universal Studios, a division of NBCUniversal, with Universal fully financing and owning all the films. The company is best known for being the creators of the Despicable Me franchise, its spin-off/prequel Minions and the films The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. The Minions, characters from the Despicable Me films, are the studio's official mascots. Its films are co-produced and/or distributed by Universal Pictures.

The studio's highest-grossing films are Minions (2015), which has grossed $1.159 billion worldwide; Despicable Me 3 (2017), which has grossed $1.015 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. Minions, Despicable Me 3, and Despicable Me 2 are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, and fourteen of the films are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films, with Minions being the second all-time highest.

History

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), Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), and Horton Hears a Who! (2008). After leaving, he founded Illumination Entertainment. By 2008, a deal was announced positioning Illumination as NBC Universal’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.[1] 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.[2][3][4]

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.[5]

Process

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.”[6] 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.[6] 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.[6]

Filmography

Released films

# Title Release date Budget Gross RT MC
1 Despicable Me July 9, 2010 $69 million $543.1 million 81% 72
2 Hop April 1, 2011 $63 million $184.0 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 74% 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 $634.3 million 73% 59
8 Despicable Me 3 June 30, 2017 $79 million $1.015 billion 61% 49

Upcoming films

Title Release date
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas November 9, 2018
The Secret Life of Pets 2 June 7, 2019
Minions 2 July 3, 2020
Sing 2 December 25, 2020
Untitled films July 2, 2021
July 1, 2022
December 21, 2022
June 30, 2023

Films in development

Title
Flanimals
Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase
Johnny Express

Short films

# Title Release date
1 Home Makeover December 14, 2010
2 Orientation Day December 14, 2010
3 Banana December 14, 2010
4 Brad & Gary 2011
5 Phil's Dance Party March 23, 2012
6 Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem July 2, 2012
7 Wagon Ho! August 7, 2012
8 Forces of Nature August 7, 2012
9 Serenade August 7, 2012
10 Puppy December 10, 2013
11 Panic in the Mailroom December 10, 2013
12 Training Wheels December 10, 2013
13 Cro Minion December 8, 2015
14 Competition December 8, 2015
15 Binky Nelson Unpacified December 8, 2015
16 Mower Minions July 8, 2016
17 Norman Television December 6, 2016
18 Weenie December 6, 2016
19 Gunter Babysits March 21, 2017
20 Love at First Sight March 21, 2017
21 Eddie's Life Coach March 21, 2017
22 The Secret Life of Kyle TBA

Accolades

Academy Awards

Year Film Category Winner/Nominee(s) Result
2013 Despicable Me 2 Best Animated Feature Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri Nominated
Best Original Song "Happy"

Golden Globes

Year Film Category Winner/Nominee(s) Result
2010 Despicable Me Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
2013 Despicable Me 2
2016 Sing
Best Original Song "Faith"

Critics' Choice Awards

Year Film Category Winner/Nominee(s) Result
2010 Despicable Me Best Animated Feature Nominated
2013 Despicable Me 2
Best Original Song "Happy"

Kids' Choice Awards

Year Film Category Winner/Nominee(s) Result
2011 Despicable Me Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie Won
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Buttkicker Steve Carell Nominated
2013 The Lorax Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Taylor Swift
2014 Despicable Me 2 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Steve Carell
Miranda Cosgrove Won
2016 Minions Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie Nominated
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Sandra Bullock
2017 The Secret Life of Pets Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Kevin Hart
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Villain Won
Kids' Choice Award for Most Wanted Pet
Sing Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie Nominated
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Reese Witherspoon
Kids' Choice Award for Most Wanted Pet
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Soundtrack Sing

Trivia

  • This company has not yet made a G-rated production, as every one of its feature-length films so far has been rated PG by the MPAA (as of the short film Mower Minions), due to stricter reasons.

References

  1. Fleming, Michael (2008-03-06). "Meledandri, Universal team on deals" (in en-US). http://variety.com/2008/film/features/meledandri-universal-team-on-deals-1117981911/. 
  2. Fleming, Mike (November 14, 2011). "Universal Pictures Buys Paris Animation Unit For Chris Meledandri’s Illumination". Deadline. http://www.deadline.com/2011/11/universal-pictures-buys-paris-animation-unit-for-chris-meledandris-illumination/. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  3. "ILLUMINATION MAC GUFF (PARIS 15) Chiffre d'affaires, résultat, bilans sur SOCIETE.COM - 533478434". http://www.societe.com/societe/illumination-mac-guff-533478434.html. 
  4. Keslassy, Elsa (December 12, 2011). "Universal benefit in Mac Guff accord". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118047207. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  5. "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-nbcuniversal-buys-dreamworks--20160428-story.html. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Barnes, Brooks (April 3, 2011). "For Illumination Entertainment, Animation Meets Economic Reality". Nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/business/media/04illumination.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=stephenbburke/. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 

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