The surprise $56.3 million opening for Universal’s Despicable Me has opened the door for the studio and animation house that built the film, Illumination, to quickly growing it into a franchise and brand.
Not even a week after Despicable Me’s debut, the word is out that Universal, Illumination head Chris Meledandri, and writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio are already discussing ideas for Despicable Me 2 that would continue the misadventures of Gru (voiced by Steve Carell). In addition, work is underway at Illumination on a pair of shorts that star the Minions, Gru’s diminutive Twinkie-shaped helpers with a small vocabulary and big misfortunes.
How the Minions shorts will be distributed is still up in the air. Universal could follow in the footsteps of Pixar and chose to tack them onto the front of future feature-film projects including Hop, an Easter Bunny story coming next April; or Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The shorts could be released on NBC as part of a television special, or possibly direct-to-video timed with the release of Despicable Me on Blu-ray and DVD.