With Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig’s performances and the yellow Minions dominating pop culture, the “Despicable Me” series has become an extremely lucrative franchise for Illumination and Universal. On Sunday, the franchise officially passed the $3 billion lifetime mark at the worldwide box office as the latest film in the series, “Despicable Me 3” made $173 million this weekend to push its global cume to $477 million.
The milestone comes seven years to the day that the first “Despicable Me” was released in theaters in 2010. After the series’ debut title made $543 million, “Despicable Me” hit its stride with a 2013 sequel that grossed $970 million, followed by the spinoff “Minions,” which grossed $1.15 billion. With a running lifetime total of $3.13 billion, “Despicable Me” movies make up 60 percent of Illumination’s $5.1 billion lifetime gross. The animation studio passed the $5 billion mark this past week, just over 10 years after it was first founded by former Fox Animation president Chris Meledandri.
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Overseas, “DM3” set a new record for the highest opening for an animated film in China with a $66 million bow. The film is close to reaching the $200 million overseas mark with $197 million, and just under $150 million domestically as well. The next major market opening for the threequel is Japan on July 21, followed by Korea a week later.