In 2010, Universal’s “Despicable Me” surprised the box office with its combination of intelligent storytelling and adorable minions. Now as the studio prepares to release its sequel into theaters today, it is clear the element of surprise may be gone, but the level of excitement surrounding the movie is still massive.
Experts knew the “Despicable Me” sequel was going to be big when a brief teaser clip went up earlier in the year featuring the film’s minions and it went viral almost instantly. The fact is the franchise’s minions have become so big they are even getting their own film next year! However the big accomplishment here in the sequel, according to today’s round of first reviews, is that producers have managed to elevate the characters, but at the same time not have them overshadow the plot.
“Heartfelt and hilarious, smart and silly, action-packed but never violent, “Despicable Me 2” is that rare sequel that outshines its beginnings.” James Rocchi, MSN Movies
“Simply works because the filmmakers understood what audiences loved about the surprise 2010 hit and just deliver on that promise in creating a sequel overflowing with heart, charm and those awesome Minions.” Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files
“‘Despicable Me 2’ is light on its feet, visually inventive and very fast with the repartee. It requires actors who can pull off the many peppery lines at warp speed and in that the film is lucky with its voice cast.” Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Once again starring (the voice of ) Steve Carell, the movie picks up with its not-so-evil genius Gru now a proud papa to his three cute charges from the original. However Gru is soon pulled back into his old life when he’s recruited to help bring down a new super-criminal and it’s up to him and his minions to save the day. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the movie also adds in Hollywood “it” girl Kristen Wiig as Gru’s new colleague and fan favorite Benjamin Bratt as “El Macho,” the film’s villain. Bratt replaces Al Pacino who dropped out of the film back in May.
Audiences are already proving to be fans as last night’s late first showings yielded $4.7 million in grosses, which is nearly 8 times more than the $570,000 that the original did back in midnight screenings in 2010. Counting in the international markets where “Me 2” had already been playing that makes for a worldwide cume of over $64 million. Considering the film was made from a moderate cost of $76 million, it should recoup its production budget easily this weekend.