Despicable Me is a 2010 French-American 3D computer-animated crime comedy film from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment that was released on July 9, 2010 in the United States. It is Illumination's 1st film. The film was animated by the French animation studio Mac Guff, which was later acquired by Illumination Entertainment. It was directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, with story by Sergio Pablos. The film stars the voice of Steve Carell as Felonious Gru, a supervillain who adopts three girls (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher) from an orphanage; and the voice of Jason Segel as Vector, a rival of Gru who steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. When Gru learns of Vector's heist, he plans an even greater heist: to shrink and steal the Earth's moon.
The film earned positive reviews from critics, and grossed over $543 million worldwide, against a budget of $69 million. It launched a franchise with a series of films, including a sequel in 2013, to be followed by a 2015 prequel film featuring Gru's Minions as the main characters, and another sequel, Despicable Me 3 in 2017 and another in 2024.
Gru, a super-villain, has his pride injured when an unknown super-villain steals the Great Pyramid of Giza, an action that is described by his colleague Dr. Nefario as "making all other villains look lame". Gru decides to do better, with the assistance of Dr. Nefario, by shrinking and stealing the Moon, an idea based on his childhood dream of being an astronaut, which was always disparaged by his mother Marlena. The plan is expensive and Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil, where the president Mr. Perkins is impressed by the plan, but will only provide the money if Gru can obtain the necessary shrink ray first.
Gru and his Minions steal the shrink ray from a secret base in East Asia, but the up-and-coming supervillain, Vector, who was also responsible for the Pyramid theft, immediately steals it from Gru, as revenge for freezing his head earlier at the Bank of Evil. Gru attempts to break into Vector's fortress to get the shrink ray back, but is defeated by numerous booby traps. However, he notices three orphan girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, who are able to easily walk into the base because they are selling cookies. Gru disguises himself as a dentist and adopts the girls from Miss Hattie's Home for Girls, planning on using them to infiltrate Vector's base so he can get the shrink ray back. However, Gru has difficulty nurturing them properly due to their rambunctiousness, their ballet classes, and his own ineptitude as a parent.
Eventually, Gru and the girls arrive at Vector's fortress and Gru manages to steal the shrink ray. The girls then suggest a day at a theme park; Gru agrees, believing he can abandon the girls there, but he is later told by an attendant that they must be accompanied by an adult. He is then dragged around the theme park for the day, eventually warming up to the girls after they compliment him on blowing up a rigged carnival game to get Agnes a toy unicorn.
Later, Gru contacts Mr. Perkins, stating that he finally has the shrink ray in his possession. Margo, Edith, and Agnes interrupt the meeting, and Perkins announces that he has lost confidence in Gru and will no longer fund his operations. As Gru tells the Minions he can no longer pay them for their services, the girls offer the contents of their piggy bank to fund the plan. The Minions then hand over their own savings, too. Gru, inspired, sacrifices parts of his lair to construct a spacecraft. Gru plans to steal the Moon when it is nearest the Earth, but this ends up being the same day as the girls' ballet recital. Gru becomes conflicted, and Dr. Nefario, seeing the recital as interfering with the plan, arranges for the girls to be returned to the orphanage. At the same time, Mr. Perkins informs Vector (who is revealed to be his son) of Gru's possession of the shrink ray and the adoption of the three girls, encouraging Vector to take action.
Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon, but is too late to attend the recital — finding a note from Vector, who has kidnapped the girls, and will exchange the Moon for them. After arriving at Vector's headquarters, Gru readily makes the trade, but Vector reneges on the deal, flying off with the girls and the Moon, much to Gru's anger. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario discovers that the effects of the shrink ray are temporary; the bigger the object was originally, the faster it will regain its original size. As the Moon starts to expand in Vector's ship, Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions pull off a daring mid-air rescue of the girls just as the Moon explodes out of Vector's ship and launches itself back into orbit, with Vector trapped on it.
Sometime later, Gru has readopted the girls and treats them as his daughters, writing them a bedtime storybook framed around his own experience. The film ends with the girls performing their own ballet recital for Gru, Marlena, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions.
- Steve Carell as Felonius Gru, a supervillain
- Jason Segel as Victor "Vector" Perkins, Mr. Perkins' son who often undermines Gru with more advanced technology
- Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Gru's colleague and a friendly scientist
- Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, the oldest of the three girls who is known for her wit
- Dana Gaier as Edith, the middle sister of the three girls, known for her rebellious attitude
- Elsie Fisher as Agnes, the youngest of the three girls, who has an obsession with unicorns
- Julie Andrews as Marlena, Gru's mother who always berates her son
- Will Arnett as Mr. Henry Perkins, the President of the Bank of Evil and Vector's father
- Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie, a dominating woman that runs Miss Hattie's Home for Girls
- Pierre Coffin as Tim, Bob, Mark, Phil and Stuart, five of Gru's Minions
- Chris Renaud as Dave, one of Gru's Minions
- Jemaine Clement as Jerry, one of Gru's Minions
- Danny McBride as Fred McDade, Gru's average neighbor who has difficulty understanding Gru
- Jack McBrayer as Carnival Barker/Tourist Father
- Mindy Kaling as Tourist Mother, Justin's mother
- Ken Jeong as Talk Show Host, the announcer of the news
Despicable Me was originally developed by Sergio Pablos under the title Evil Me. He later participated in development during the early stages of the production. In November 2008, Illumination Entertainment announced the beginning of the development on its first CGI animated film Despicable Me.
Despicable Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, and it was released on July 6, 2010. It featured new songs from the film written and performed by Pharrell Williams, and performances by Destinee & Paris, The Sylvers, Robin Thicke and the Bee Gees
Sequels and Prequel
A sequel, titled Despicable Me 2, was released on July 3, 2013. It is produced by the same team that was behind the first film – along with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Steve Carell, Russell Brand, and Miranda Cosgrove reprise their roles; Kristen Wiig and Ken Jeong returned but voiced new characters. New cast members include Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo, Gru's nemesis, and Steve Coogan as Silas Ramsbottom.
On January 15, 2014, it was announced that a sequel, titled Despicable Me 3 will be released on June 30, 2017.
A prequel feature film titled Minions, featuring the Minions as the main characters, was released on July 10, 2015. Written by Brian Lynch, it is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healey. The film, set in the 1960's, focuses on the Minions before they met Gru, where they compete for the right to become henchmen of an ambitious villain, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock.
- This is Universal's first fully animated theatrical film to be rated PG by the MPAA.
- This is the first feature film by Illumination.