Despicable Me 2
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
Produced by
Starring
Edited byGregory Perler
Music by
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 5, 2013 (2013-06-05) (Australia)
  • July 3, 2013 (2013-07-03) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$76 million[2]
Box office$970.8 million[3]

Despicable Me 2 is a 2013 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. It is the sequel to Despicable Me (2010) and the second installment in the Despicable Me franchise. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the film stars the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, and Ken Jeong.

Despicable Me 2 premiered on June 5, 2013 in Australia, called Despicable M2, and was released in the United States on July 3. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and earned $970.8 million worldwide, becoming the third-highest-grossing film of 2013. At the 86th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (for "Happy"), losing both to Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen (2013). The film is also the most profitable film in the 101-year history of Universal Pictures. A spin-off prequel, and a sequel have been released: Minions (2015), and Despicable Me 3 (2017), respectively.

Plot

A mysterious aircraft, using a giant magnet, steals a highly potent mutagen known as PX-41 from a secret laboratory in the Arctic Circle. Director Silas Ramsbottom of the Anti-Villain League (AVL) sends one of his agents, Lucy Wilde, to recruit Gru, a former supervillain. Forcibly brought to the AVL headquarters, Gru is asked by Silas to help them track down the culprit and recover the mutagen. However, Gru refuses, claiming that he is a legitimate father. Longing to resume his criminal life, Dr. Nefario, Gru's friend and assistant, leaves him for new employment. This causes a reluctant Gru to investigate the theft and work with Lucy. The pair are stationed at the Paradise Shopping Mall, with a cupcake store as their front.

Gru immediately suspects Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo Pérez of being "El Macho", a supervillain who supposedly died by riding a shark into an active volcano with 250 pounds of TNT strapped to his chest. Gru and Lucy break into Eduardo's restaurant at night but find no proof. Meanwhile, Gru's three adopted daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes, who dream of having a mother one day, believe that Gru will fall in love with Lucy. Gru denies it, saying his relationship with Lucy is only professional.

Despite holding Eduardo as his prime suspect, Gru agrees to pursue others, including wig merchant Floyd Eaglesan, where he discovers traces of PX-41. After witnessing Eduardo's son Antonio woo Margo and invite everyone to his Cinco de Mayo party, Gru renews his focus on Eduardo. After a neighbor sets Gru up on a bad blind date, Lucy helps him escape, and the two begin to bond. The next day, the AVL arrests Floyd after finding an almost-empty jar of the mutagen in his shop. Silas closes the investigation and reassigns Lucy to Australia.

At the Cinco de Mayo party, Gru follows Eduardo and, finding the giant magnet, discovers that he is indeed El Macho. Having faked his death, El Macho has hired Dr. Nefario, and has been abducting Gru's Minions, using the stolen PX-41 serum to transform them into mindless, indestructible monsters. El Macho plans to launch rockets full of the evil Minions into major cities to dominate the world. He offers Gru the chance to team up with him, but he walks away with the girls. Suspicious, El Macho sends one of his evil Minions after him.

Lucy later arrives at the party right after Gru leaves, but El Macho captures her. Dr. Nefario lets Gru know what happened, and he returns to El Macho's fortress with two of his own disguised Minions, but the evil Minions remove their disguise and attack them. Meanwhile, the first evil Minion attacks the girls at Gru's house, until Dr. Nefario, who has returned to Gru's side, arrives with an antidote. Dr. Nefario puts the antidote in Gru's jelly reserves, and he and the girls hurry to Gru's aid. Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the girls use jelly guns to restore all the Minions to their normal state. El Macho uses the PX-41 to become a monster himself, but is defeated by Gru and Dr. Nefario.

Gru starts to rescue Lucy from El Macho's TNT-loaded shark rocket, but his pet chicken Pollito launches it, sending them towards a volcano. Lucy accepts Gru's invitation for a date, and they jump into the ocean before the rocket explodes in the volcano. Several dates later, Gru and Lucy eventually get married, giving Margo, Edith, and Agnes a mother.

In several mid-credits scenes, three Minions are seen auditioning for a new film called "the Minion Movie".

Voice cast

Miranda Cosgrove and Steve Carell at the Australian premiere of Despicable Me 2
Miranda Cosgrove and Steve Carell at the Australian premiere of Despicable Me 2

Production

Development

Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination Entertainment, said in July 2010 that a sequel was in the works.[19] In June 2011, Universal Pictures announced that the sequel would be released on July 3, 2013.[20] Meledandri confirmed in February 2012 that they had started working on the film.[21]

Casting

In October 2011, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Javier Bardem was negotiating to voice a villain, named El Macho,[22] but the negotiations failed.[23] By February 2012, Al Pacino had joined the cast to voice the villain.[24] In April 2012, producers confirmed that Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher were returning to reprise their roles. Kristen Wiig, who voiced Miss Hattie in the first film, voices Lucy Wilde, an agent of the Anti-Villain League who recruits Gru to track and take down a tough, Mexican villain named El Macho. Steve Coogan joined the cast as Silas Ramsbottom, the head of the Anti-Villain League.[4]

In May 2013, producers announced that Al Pacino had left the film over creative differences about how his character should come to life.[10][25] At the time of his departure, Pacino's character had already been fully voiced and animated.[26] Chris Renaud, co-director of the film, commented on Pacino's departure: "So we don't want an unhappy actor, and we want something that is well-realized on all sides. If you don't see eye to eye, sometimes it's easier to (part company) and move on from there."[25] Benjamin Bratt, who had already been considered before Pacino,[25] stepped in to voice Eduardo.[8] Chris Meledandri, producer of the film, admitted that he was not "aware of any of the major animated films of the last 15 years that has brought an actor in at such a late stage".[26] Due to the finished animation, Bratt had to match his timing exactly to the character's mouth movement.[27] Initially, during his five-day recording,[26] he tried to imitate Pacino's voice, but found it impossible, saying "no one can out-Al Pacino Al Pacino". He ended up only using Pacino as an inspiration, and resolved to go with his own interpretation of the character.[28] His work was commended by Variety, saying: "You'd never guess he wasn't the filmmakers' first choice."[15]

Animation

The animation was developed in Paris, France by Illumination Mac Guff using Autodesk Maya, over 400 to 650 artists worked on the sequel, in contrast of the team of 100 artists the first film required.

One of the biggest challenges for the animation team was creating visual effects (such as water and jelly), which led to the crashing and replacement of some of the studio's drives.[29]

Music

Despicable Me 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedJune 18, 2013
Recorded2013
GenreScore
Length1:01:25
LabelBack Lot Music
Heitor Pereira film scores chronology
The Smurfs
(2011)
Despicable Me 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2013)
The Smurfs 2
(2013)
Singles from Despicable Me 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Happy"
    Released: November 21, 2013

Despicable Me 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album for the film, released on June 18, 2013 through Back Lot Music. The original music was composed by Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams.[30][31]

Chart positions

Chart (2013–14) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[32] 163
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[33] 160
UK Compilation Albums (OCC)[34] 48
US Billboard 200[35] 86
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[35] 19
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[35] 3

Marketing

In March 2013, a blimp dressed to appear as a Minion, named "Despicablimp", in which Universal and Van Wagner Communications owns an American Blimp Corporation A-150 model, traveled through the United States for a 20,000-mile-long (32,000 km) tour to promote the film's release. As one of the largest airships in the world, it measured 165 feet (50 m) in length, 55 feet (17 m) in height,[36] and weighed 8,000 pounds (3.6 t).[37]

Universal Pictures partnered the film with licensing and promotional partners valued at an unprecedented $200—$250 million in the next three years.[38] One of the partners was McDonald's, which included in its Happy Meals various Minion toys, some of them unique to a specific country.[39] To take advantage of banana-loving Minions, Chiquita Brands International ran various sweepstakes,[39] and a Minion, voiced by Pierre Coffin, performed the song "Chiquita Banana" in the film.[17] Thinkway Toys released various toys and figures,[40] and Hasbro made special games.[39]

Release

Theatrical

Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud at the film's screening at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival

Despicable Me 2 premiered on June 5, 2013, at Event Cinemas in Bondi Junction, New South Wales, Australia. Steve Carell and Miranda Cosgrove were present at the red carpet premiere.[41][42] In France, it premiered on June 12, as part of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.[43] The American premiere was held at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles on June 22;[16] Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Nasim Pedrad, and composer Pharrell Williams were present at the "yellow carpet" premiere.[44][45] The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 3.[4] It was digitally re-mastered into IMAX 3D format and released in select international IMAX theatres.[46]

As with the first film, which did not have a theatrical release in China, the film's distributor Universal Pictures had troubles releasing the sequel.[47] When it was reported in July 2013 that the film had been denied a theatrical release in China, then the second-largest film market in the world, some analysts attributed this to the protection of locally produced animation.[48][49] There were also rumors that the film's release was banned in China because the film's minions too much resembled former Chinese president Jiang Zemin.[50] China's Film Bureau was "furious" about the negative comments, stating that the film was not submitted for censorship approval.[51] In fact, there was reportedly a "commercial conflict" between Universal and Edko Films, the film's local distributor, over which titles are to be imported.[52] Edko had decided that the film "would not do well in China and decided against using one of the precious quota slots for the film."[51] In December 2013, a few weeks after the Universal Pictures' announcement that it would open a Beijing office, it was reported that Despicable Me 2 would be theatrically released in China on January 10, 2014.[50]

Home media

Despicable Me 2 was released in Digital HD on November 26, and on DVD and Blu-ray on December 10.[53] The DVD and Blu-ray combo pack features three "mini movies" titled Puppy, Panic in the Mailroom, and Training Wheels.[53]

Reception

Box office

Despicable Me 2 earned $368 million in the United States and Canada and $602.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $970.8 million,[3] making it the third highest-grossing film of 2013.[54] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $394.5 million, placing it third on their list of 2013's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".[55] With a budget of $76 million,[2] the film is the most profitable film in the 101-year history of Universal Pictures.[56]

In the United States and Canada, Despicable Me 2 is the sixth animated film to pass the $300 million mark.[57] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold more than 40 million tickets in the United States and Canada.[3] The film opened on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at first place with $35.0 million (including $4.7 million from Tuesday night showings). The film dropped 30% to $24.5 million on Thursday,[58] marking the second-largest non-opening Thursday gross.[59] Over the five-day Independence Day weekend (Wednesday-to-Sunday, including Tuesday night showings), the film earned $143.1 million, the highest five-day start for an animated film. During the traditional three-day opening weekend (Friday-to-Sunday), the film earned $83.5 million.[60] The film remained in the first position at the box office for two consecutive weekends.[61]

In other territories, Despicable Me 2 is the fourth animated film to have grossed over $600 million. On its first weekend, Despicable Me 2 opened only in Australia with $6.66 million,[62] ahead of Monsters University (2013) which opened on the same weekend.[63] The film set an opening-day record in Latvia.[64] In total, it opened at number one in 67 territories,[65] and set opening-weekend records among animated films in Latin America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam,[66] and Lebanon,[67] as well as opening-weekend records among all films in South Africa and Venezuela.[66] In Japan, it topped the box office ($3.3 million) beating Elsyium (2013).[68][69] The film remained in the first position at the box office for two consecutive weekends during July 2013.[70][71] The film's largest openings occurred in the United Kingdom ($22.5 million), China ($15.4 million), and Mexico ($14.9 million). In total earnings, its largest markets were the United Kingdom ($72.2 million), China ($53.0 million), and Mexico ($47.7 million).[3]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, which categorizes reviews only as positive or negative, 75% of 186 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.70/10. Its critical consensus reads, "Despicable Me 2 offers plenty of eye-popping visual inventiveness and a number of big laughs."[72] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 62 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[73] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[74]

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Steve Carell's Slavic inflections as Gru do the trick, as before. Wiig's clever hesitations and comic timing help save the day."[75] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, saying "The new edition doesn't quite catch that inspired spark."[7] Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger gave the film three stars out of four, saying "Not only a fun cartoon but—that rare thing—a sequel which actually improves on the original."[76] Soren Anderson of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "It's fun. It's cheerful. It's lollipop colorful. Best of all, it features lots of minion mischief, which guarantees plenty of laughs. But what it doesn't have is an edge."[77]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "It is consistently diverting and so cute you'll want to pet it. Yet it is also weightless and lacks a center."[78] Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "If you're looking for quality prepackaged, predigested Hollywood family fun this summer, you could do a lot worse than Despicable Me 2."[79] Alonso Duralde of TheWrap gave the film a negative review, saying "The minions are still wacky scene-stealers—and once again, we don't get nearly enough of them—but Gru and his daughters have been blanded down to bad-sitcom level."[80] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two stars out of four, saying "With its predecessor having made a whopping $540 million globally, it's no wonder that Universal saw fit to order a sequel. But it's not enough just to trot out legions of minions and cobble together a plot. Audiences deserve more imagination and inventiveness than this wan recycling."[81] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a 'C' grade, saying "By the end, every child in the audience will want his or her own monster-minion toy. Adults will just regret the way that Despicable Me 2 betrays the original film's devotion to bad-guy gaiety."[82]

Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film a positive review, saying "The scope of the 'toon espionage-adventure goings-on is surprisingly limited. But the filmmakers so clearly love working on these characters, their creative joy is infectious."[83] Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post gave the film three stars out of four, saying "The animation is beguiling, particularly when Lucy drives her car into the ocean, transforming it into a submarine that scoots around sharks and fish."[84] Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying "While not quite as charming or unique as the original, Despicable Me 2 comes awfully close, extending co-directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin's delightfully silly sensibility to a bit larger universe."[15] Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three stars out of four, saying "It's a credit that the writing can be so funny in the moment, that it takes time to realize there's no cohesive story, zero dramatic tension and nary a practical lesson for either the characters in the film or the people watching in the theater."[85]

Mary F. Pols of Time gave the film a positive review, saying "As a sequel it stands level with the first film, and may have the edge on it."[86] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three stars out of four, saying "Co-directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, who do Minion voices expertly, never let up on the laughs. A fart joke in 3-D may not be three times as wacky, but the high spirits of Despicable Me 2 are irresistible fun."[87] A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a 'C' grade, saying "What's missing—and this was the crucial component of part one—is a little sour to undercut the sweet. Like its protagonist, a bad guy gone boringly good, Despicable Me 2 has no edge. It's fatally nice and insufficiently naughty."[88]

Accolades

Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards[89] Best Animated Feature Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, and Chris Meledandri Nominated
Best Original Song "Happy" – Pharrell Williams Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[90] Best Animated Feature Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud Nominated
American Cinema Editors[91] Best Edited Animated Feature Film Gregory Perler Nominated
Annie Awards[92] Best Animated Feature Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial Despicable Me 2 Won
Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Jonathan Del Val Nominated
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Eric Guillon Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Yarrow Cheney and Eric Guillon Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Eric Favela Nominated
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Kristen Wiig Nominated
Steve Carell Nominated
Pierre Coffin Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[93] Best Animated Film Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin Nominated
British Academy Children's Awards (BAFTA)[94] BAFTA Kid's Vote (Feature Film) Despicable Me 2 Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards[95] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures – Animated Charleen Richards, Tom Johnson, Gary A. Rizzo, Chris Scarabosio, Alan Meyerson, and Tony Eckert Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award[96] Best Animated Feature Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Best Song "Happy" – Pharrell Williams Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[97] Best Animated Feature Film Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards[98] Favorite Animated Movie Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Steve Carell Nominated
Miranda Cosgrove Won
People's Choice Awards[99] Favorite Family Movie Despicable Me 2 Won
Favorite Movie Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award[100] Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Janet Healy and Chris Meledandri Nominated
Satellite Awards[101] Satellite Award for Best Original Song "Happy" – Pharrell Williams Nominated
Saturn Awards[102] Best Animated Film Despicable Me 2 Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[103] Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy, Chris Renaud, and Pierre Coffin Nominated
Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[104] Best Animated Feature Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud Nominated

Future

Prequel

Main article: Minions (film)

A spin-off prequel, titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the main characters, was released on July 10, 2015.[105] Written by Brian Lynch, it was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.[105] The film was first foreshadowed in Despicable Me 2's mid-credits scene.[106]

Sequel

Main article: Despicable Me 3

A sequel, titled Despicable Me 3, was released on June 30, 2017.[107] The film was directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, with Eric Guillon serving as co-director, and was produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy. Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio returned to write the screenplay for the film.[108]

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