The Minions made millions … and they are looking for more.

Despicable Me 2’ demolished the competition over the July 4 weekend, building off the success of the first film and banking an estimated $142.1 million to win the holiday frame. Universal obviously has a monster franchise on its hands (the original ‘Despicable’ earned $543 million worldwide back in 2010), and it intends on keeping the party going – but this ‘Despicable Me 3' might not be what you thought it was going to be.

The ball already is rolling on ‘Minions,’ a 'Despicable Me 3'/spinoff film starring Gru’s pint-sized sidekicks and it’s arriving in theaters sooner than you think. Here’s what we already know about ‘Minions,’ starting with a release date.

When Will ‘Minions’ Open?


Circle December 19, 2014 on your calendar, ‘Despicable’ fans, as that’s the day ‘Minions’ will open in theaters nationwide.

Realizing it had a lucrative franchise in the works, Illumination Entertainment and Universal greenlit this film back in 2012, so that audiences wouldn’t have to wait so long to get the next story in the popular franchise. Your average animated film takes three to four years to produce.

Programming ‘Minions’ for a 2014 release date allows the studio to placate fans as they work on the inevitable ‘Despicable Me 3,’ which could be in theaters by late 2015 or early 2016, if some work already has been done behind the scenes.

Will Gru Be Back for the ‘Minions’ Movie?



‘Minions’ will be a prequel story, setting up the fact that these yellow henchmen have been around since the dawn of time, serving various evil masters at different stages of our planet’s history. Co-directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda have come up with a standalone story for the Minions that will exist separate from the plotline developed by the two ‘Despicable’ movies to date, which is both smart and risky.

The move assumes that audiences want to follow the Minions on their own adventure – a la ‘The Penguins of Madagascar,’ a moderately popular animated series that spun off of DreamWorks’ ‘Madagascar’ film series. But it also removes the very funny Steve Carell from the equation, meaning ‘Minions’ is going to need some star power. Who have the co-directors hired so far?

Who Is In the ‘Minions’ Cast, and Whom Will They Play?

Sandra Bullock Jon Hamm
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Carell may be gone, but that doesn’t mean ‘Minion’ will lack for star power … or be hungry for legitimately funny voice actors.

Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm have been hired to voice human characters in the ‘Minions’ movie. Taking a page from the ‘X-Men: First Class’ playbook, the plot will be set in the 1960s, where the Minions (led by Kevin the Minion) have isolated themselves from society by setting up camp in Antarctica. Reportedly, we’ll see a series of Minion blunders where – over the course of history – they have tried to serve various masters, from a T-Rex to Dracula, but have failed. Now they’re looking for a master to serve, which kick starts the new story.

Bullock, according to reports, will voice the character of Scarlet Overkill, whom Deadline describes as “a stylish bad-ass super-villain who is … bent on world domination.”

Hamm, meanwhile, will voice the character of Scarlet’s husband, Herb Overkill, an inventor who encounters the Minions at a villain convention. Over the course of the film, the Minions compete for the right to be Scarlet’s henchmen, leading to amusing antics.

In a way, ‘Minions’ sounds like it’s following the path recently tread by Pixar’s ‘Monsters University,’ going back in time so that the film that is chronologically 'Despicable Me 3' will actually show us the early days of some beloved characters to tell new stories that fit in the mythology of the franchise. We could easily see ‘Minions’ leaving room for additional stories that take place before we catch up with Gru in the 2010 story. Maybe the Minions in the 1970s or ‘80s?

Given the success of 'Despicable Me 2,’ I’m willing to bet that Universal will also develop another 'Despicable Me 3' in addition to 'Minions.' But if they can rotate ‘Me’ sequels with ‘Minion’ spinoffs – and audiences enjoy the stories that are being cranked out – it sounds like a possible win-win for the studio and its patrons.

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