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Despicable Me is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated action-comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment as its debut film and project for Universal Pictures. The film was animated by the French animation studio Mac Guff, which was later acquired by Illumination. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud in their directorial debuts from a screenplay by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and a story by Sergio Pablos, the title references the main character as he refers to himself and is accompanied by a song by Pharrell Williams.
The film stars Steve Carell as Gru, a supervillain who adopts three girls (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher) from an orphanage; and the voice of Jason Segel as Vector, a rival of Gru who steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. When Gru learns of Vector's heist, he plans an even greater one: to shrink and steal the Earth's moon. However, despite Gru's villainous intentions, he grows increasingly touched by the girls' growing love for him and finds himself changing for the better because of it.
Despicable Me premiered on June 19, 2010, at the 32nd Moscow International Film Festival, and was released in the United States on July 9, 2010. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed over $546 million worldwide against a budget of $69 million, making it Universal's highest-grossing animated film not produced at its in-house feature animation studio at the time. It launched an expanded franchise with the two sequels Despicable Me 2 (2013) and Despicable Me 3 (2017) and two spin-offs/prequels Minions (2015) and Minions: The Rise of Gru (2020), featuring Gru's Minions as the main characters.
Supervillain Felonious Gru is disheartened when an unknown supervillain steals the Great Pyramid of Giza from Egypt. Gru, with the assistance of his colleague Dr. Nefario and his Minions, seeks to outdo this mystery rival by planning to shrink and steal the Moon. As it would be costly to steal it, however, Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil, whose president Mr. Perkins is impressed by the plan but will provide the money only if Gru can obtain the necessary shrink ray first. Upon learning that an up-and-coming villain named Vector was responsible for the pyramid theft, Gru starts a rivalry with him.
Gru and the Minions steal the shrink ray from a secret base in East Asia, but Vector intercepts them and steals it for himself. Gru then attempts to break into Vector's mansion to recover the ray, but is defeated by numerous booby traps outside the mansion. However, he notices three orphan girls named Margo, Edith, and Agnes who are able to easily walk into the base because they are selling cookies. Gru thus disguises himself and adopts the girls, planning on using them to infiltrate Vector's base so he can get the ray back. However, Gru has trouble nurturing them properly due to their rambunctiousness, their ballet classes, and his own ineptitude as a parent.
Eventually, Gru and the girls arrive at Vector's mansion and Gru manages to steal the ray with the Minions. The girls then suggest spending a day at a theme park; Gru agrees, believing he can abandon the girls there, but instead he warms up to them. Later, Gru contacts Perkins via video chat, stating that he finally has the shrink ray. Margo, Edith, and Agnes interrupt the meeting, and Perkins announces that he has lost confidence in Gru and will no longer fund his operations. As Gru tells the Minions he can no longer pay them for their services, the girls offer the contents of their piggy bank. Gru, inspired, sells parts of his lair to construct a spacecraft, and plans to steal the Moon when it is nearest to the Earth; however, his planned operation happens to be on the same day as the girls' ballet recital. Gru becomes conflicted, and Dr. Nefario, seeing the recital as interfering with the plan, arranges for the girls to be returned to the orphanage. At the same time, Perkins informs Vector, who is revealed to be his son, of Gru's possession of the shrink ray and the girls' adoption, encouraging Vector to act.
Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon and rushes back to Earth to attend the recital, only to find a ransom note from Vector, who wants him to trade the Moon for his girls back. After arriving at Vector's mansion, Gru surrenders the Moon to him, but Vector reneges on the deal, flying off with the girls and the Moon. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario has discovered the effects of the shrink ray are temporary; the bigger the object's original size, the faster the shrinkage will wear off. As the Moon starts to expand in Vector's ship, Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions execute a daring mid-air rescue of the girls just as the Moon explodes out of Vector's ship and launches back into orbit, with Vector trapped on it.
Sometime later, Gru has returned the Great Pyramid to its rightful place and has re-adopted the girls, writing them a bedtime storybook framed around his own experience. The film ends with the girls performing their own ballet recital for Gru, his mother Marlena, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions.
- Steve Carell as Gru, a mean supervillain
- Jason Segel as Victor "Vector" Perkins, Mr. Perkins' son and Gru's archenemy
- Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Gru's elderly gadget man and a friendly scientist
- Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, the oldest of the three girls
- Dana Gaier as Edith, the middle sister of the three girls
- Elsie Fisher as Agnes, the youngest of the three girls
- Will Arnett as Mr. Perkins, the President of the Bank of Evil and Vector's father
- Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie, owner of the orphanage Miss Hattie's Home for Girls
- Julie Andrews as Marlena, Gru's mother
- Pierre Coffin as Kevin, Tim, Bob, Mark, Phil and Stuart, six of Gru's Minions
- Chris Renaud as Dave, one of Gru's Minions
- Jemaine Clement as Jerry, one of Gru's Minions
- Jack McBrayer as a carnival barker/tourist Father
- Danny McBride as Fred McDade, Gru's neighbor
- Mindy Kaling as a tourist mother, Justin's mother
- Rob Huebel as an anchorman
- Ken Daurio as an Egyptian guard
- Ken Jeong as a talk-show host
- Charles Bright
- Ranjani Brow
- Holly Dorff
- Jackie Gonneau
- Wendy Hoffman
- James Kyson Lee
- Tony Lee
- Katie Leigh
- Scott Menville
- Edie Mirman
- Al Rodrigo
- Jakob Roston
- Hans Tester
- Debi Mae West
Despicable Me was initially developed by Sergio Pablos under the original title Evil Me. He later participated in development during the early stages of the production and took the package unsolicited to Universal Pictures where he became the first of several screenwriters on the project as well as executive producer. In November 2008, Illumination Entertainment announced the beginning of the development of its first CGI animated film Despicable Me.
- Main article: Despicable Me/Soundtrack
Despicable Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, and it was released on July 6, 2010. It featured new songs from the film written and performed by Pharrell Williams, and performances by Destinee & Paris, The Sylvers, Robin Thicke and the Bee Gees.
NBC (which is owned by Universal) had an extensive marketing campaign leading up to the film's release. Sneak peeks were shown in episodes of The Biggest Loser. Despicable Me was also featured on Last Comic Standing when Gru comes in to audition. IHOP restaurants promoted the film by introducing three new menu items, a kids' breakfast meal, and a drink all having the word "minion" in them. Best Buy released a free smartphone application called "Best Buy Movie Mode", which translated what the Minions were saying during the end credits of the 3D theatrical release. For the home media release of the film, the application was updated to translate the Minions' language throughout the entire film.
In May 2010, three books related to the movie were published, as well as the children's puppet book featured in the film. The first, My Dad the Super Villain (ISBN 0-316-08382-8), was rated as a preschool book. The second, Despicable Me: The Junior Novel (ISBN 0-316-08380-1), was rated as being a Junior Reader for ages 8 to 12. The third, Despicable Me: The World's Greatest Villain (ISBN 0-316-08377-1), was rated for ages 3–6 years. The puppet book Sleepy Kittens (ISBN 0-316-08381-X) was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and illustrated by Eric Guillon.
A video game titled Despicable Me: The Game was released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii. A Nintendo DS version was released under the name Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Namco also released a version for the iPhone and iPad platform entitled Despicable Me: Minion Mania, developed by Anino Games. An application for iOS and Androids was also released under the name Despicable Me: Minion Rush. It was developed by Gameloft and made available to the public in 2013.
Despicable Me was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on December 14, 2010. The release included three new short films, titled Home Makeover, Orientation Day and Banana. The film was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on June 6, 2017.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a rating of 81% based on 192 reviews and an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own." Metacritic, another review aggregation website, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Released on July 9, 2010, in the United States, Despicable Me opened at the number one spot at the box office and pulled in $56.3 million, making it the fourth-biggest opening grossing for an animated film in 2010 behind Toy Story 3, Computeropolis 3, and Shrek Forever After. In its second weekend, the film dipped 42% to second place behind Inception with $32.8 million earned. The film then had another drop of 27% in its third weekend and finished in third place with $23.8 million. On August 5, 2010, the film crossed the $200 million mark, becoming the first Universal film to reach the milestone since 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum.
On the weekend lasting from September 3–5, 2010, it surpassed Shrek Forever After to become the second-highest-grossing animated film of 2010 in the United States and Canada, behind Toy Story 3. It was also the highest-grossing non-DreamWorks/non-Disney·Pixar animated film of all time in these territories, since overtaken by its sequel. The film has made $251,513,985 in the United States and Canada as well as an estimated $291.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $546,010,705, against its $69 million budget. This film is also Universal's eighth-highest-grossing film (unadjusted for inflation) and the tenth-highest-grossing animated feature of all time in North America. In worldwide earnings, it is the seventh-biggest film of Universal Studios, the highest-grossing non-Universal Animation Studios film from Universal, the fifth-highest-grossing animated film of 2010 trailing Toy Story 3, Computeropolis 3, Shrek Forever After, and Tangled, the 45th-highest-grossing animated film of all time and the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2010.
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- Main article: Despicable Me 2
A sequel, titled Despicable Me 2, was released on July 3, 2013. It is produced by the same team that was behind the first film—along with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Russell Brand, and Miranda Cosgrove reprise their roles; Kristen Wiig and Ken Jeong returned but voiced new characters (Lucy Wilde and Floyd Eagle-san). New cast members include Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo, Gru's nemesis, and Steve Coogan as Silas Ramsbottom.
Another sequel, titled Despicable Me 3, was released on June 30, 2017.
- Main article: Minions (film)
A prequel feature film titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the main characters, was released on July 10, 2015. Written by Brian Lynch, it is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healey. The film, set in the 1960s, focuses on the Minions before they met Gru, where they compete for the right to become henchmen of an ambitious villain, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock. A second prequel feature film titled Minions: The Rise of Gru, will be released on July 3, 2020.