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Illumination (formerly known as Illumination Entertainment) is a Los Angeles-based CGI animation company which is known for creating the Despicable Me franchise. It is fully owned by Universal Pictures.


Illumination was founded in early 2007 by Chris Meledandri, the executive producer of the first two Ice Age films, Robots and Horton Hears a Who!. The company was merged into Universal Pictures in 2008. Their first feature film was Despicable Me which was released in 2010 and distributed by Universal. It has since then been solely focused on animated features.

In 2011, Illumination's second film Hop was released in theatres on April 1, 2011, with a blend of live-action and CGI animation. In the summer of the same year, Mac Guff as the old animation company has a two splits from the visual effects the new company named "Illumination Mac Guff" is the all new animation studios. In 2012, The Lorax was released in theatres on March 2nd, 2012, based on the Dr. Seuss book.

In 2013, Despicable Me 2, a sequel to Despicable Me, was released on July 3rd, 2013. In 2015, Minions, a spin-off/prequel of Despicable Me, was released on July 10th, 2015. In 2016, The Secret Life of Pets was released on July 8th, 2016. In December 21th of the same year, another film Sing was released. A third film in the Despicable Me series, Despicable Me 3, will be released on June 30th, 2017. A sequel to The Secret Life of Pets was released on July 13th, 2018. An adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was also released on November 9th, 2018. A sequel to the 2015 film, Minions, is also under production as of September 2021 called Minions: the Rise of Gru which was planned to be released in july 3rd 2020, but was delayed due to The COVID19 pandemic to 2021 and then delayed to 2022, There are also plans for a fourth Despicable Me film as well as an Untitled Super Mario Bros. Movie

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. On August 22, 2016, the acquisition was completed. DreamWorks Animation and Illumination will remain separate companies.

Illumination logo (as seen in Minion Rush)


Main article: List of Illumination films


  • The Minions are Illumination's mascot.
  • Despicable Me is popular for using the theme song for the 1968 MGM movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the opening theme for the original 1967 Columbia Pictures version of Casino Royale.
  • 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.
  • Starting with Despicable Me 3, the company is referred to as Illumination in their logo and marketing.

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