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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, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing franchises. It is fully owned by its founder, Chris Meledandri and has an exclusive production and distribution deal with Universal Pictures, characters The Minions from the Despicable Me franchise are official mascots for this studio.


Illumination Entertainment logo

The logo used in films and trailers from 2010 to 2017. this logo is still used on promotion material.

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! at 20th Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios. 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 Studios Paris" 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 21st of the same year, another film Sing was released. A third film in the Despicable Me series, Despicable Me 3, was released on June 30th, 2017. An adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, called The Grinch, was also released on November 9, 2018. In 2019, The Secret Life of Pets 2 was released on June 7, 2019. In 2021, Sing 2 was released on December 22, 2021. 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 inJuly 3rd 2020, but was delayed due to The COVID19 pandemic to 2021 and then delayed to July 1, 2022. In 2023, The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released an April 5, 2023, along with the original film Migration set to release December 22nd of the same year. Despicable Me 4 was set to be released on July 3rd, 2024, there are also plans for a second Super Mario Bros. film and a third Minions spin-off film.

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)


Title Films Shorts Release dates
Despicable Me 6 18 2010-present
The Secret Life of Pets 3 3 2016-present
Sing 5


Main article: List of Illumination productions


  • Their name is a play on the words illuminate and animation.
  • 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 [[wikipedia:Casino Royale|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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