The Billions Behind the Minions: What to Know About 'The Rise of Gru' The Despicable Me franchise and its prequel Minions movies are among the top-grossing animated film franchises of all time.

By Madeline Garfinkle Originally published

When Despicable Me premiered in 2010, the story of a reformed villain and his small army of "minions" grossed over $500 million, sparking a film franchise that would continue to expand for over a decade.

Twelve years later, the Despicable Me franchise has earned more than $3.7 billion globally, making it the highest-grossing animated franchise worldwide, according to Deadline. The franchise includes three Despicable Me movies (with a fourth scheduled for 2024) and (now) two films in the franchise's prequel series, Minions.

The latest in the franchise, Minions: The Rise of Gru, follows a young Gru in the 1970s as he and his minions face new challenges when joining forces with a group of supervillains called the Vicious 6, and find friendship in unlikely places.

When does 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' come out?

Minions: The Rise of Gru will be in theaters on July 1, 2022, and will be shown in 4,400 theaters. The film is predicted to bring in an estimated $70M-$80M in domestic box offices over 4-days, and another $70M abroad for a potential $150M global launch.

How much is the Despicable Me franchise worth?

Since opening, the Despicable Me films, along with their partner prequel series, Minions, have grossed over $3.7 billion globally. When Despicable Me 3 raked in more than $21.2 million on its opening weekend, it officially became the highest-grossing animated film franchise in the world in 2017, dethroning the Shrek franchise of the title.

Who stars in the latest Minions movie?

The movie stars Steve Carell as Gru, who told People that even his adult children love the franchise.

"I put it out to them like, 'Well, the premiere is this week, do you want to go?' And they were all over it, like not even a hesitation," he told the magazine of his children 18 and 21. "I think it's nostalgic at this point. They love the characters and they love the franchise. It's been a big part of our family."

Steve Carell continues his reign as Felonius Gru, a longtime criminal turned good and his posse of minions. The film also stars Russel Brand, Michelle Yeoh, Julie Andrews, and Taraji P. Henson, among others.

Who owns the Despicable Me franchise?

The Despicable Me films are produced by the animation company Illumination and distributed by its parent company, Universal Pictures. The company has also produced the popular movies The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, as well as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and The Grinch.

What is the 'Gentleminions' trend?

Since the opening of The Rise of Gru, the #Gentleminions trend quickly gained traction on TikTok, resulting in packs of teenagers flooding theaters in formal attire and using bananas as accessories. Some theaters have started to ban "any groups of guests in formal attire," reported Elite Daily, due to "disturbances."

Madeline Garfinkle

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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