We’ll have to wait almost three years for Steve Carell’s super-villain Gru and his tiny, yellow henchmen to return to the big screen and deal with a new super criminal. A sequel to last year’s second-highest grossing film, Despicable Me 2, which was just nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars, Despicable Me 3 is set for a June 30, 2017 release date. Fans of the Universal franchise will be treated to a prequel/spin-off when The Minions arrives in summer 2015. That movie will explore the Minions’ lives before they side with Gru. Sandra Bullock will play the villainous Scarlet Overkill, who plots to take over the world with her inventor husband, Herb (Jon Hamm). Despicable Me 2 became the most profitable film in Universal’s 100-year history, so it’s no surprise that part three of the animated series already has a placeholder.

Also from Illumination Entertainment and Universal is a newly adapted version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey brought the grumpy, green Grinch to life in a 2000 film, but Chuck Jones’ 1966 TV cartoon remains the reigning champ when it comes to bitter, cave-dwelling creeps with a heart “two sizes too small.” The new film from the same folks behind The Lorax, which squashed the spirit of Seuss for many critics, will be released on November 17, 2017, directed by Pete Candeland (All Dogs Go To Heaven 2) from an adaptation by Michael LeSieur (You, Me and Dupree). Nervous about this one?

Garth Jennings, director of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and one half of filmmaking partnership Hammer & Tongs (with Nick Goldsmith), will also direct a film for Illumination. There is no name just yet, but we do know it’s a comedy that will open on December 21, 2016. The blurb teases this vague, but hopeful synopsis: “This original animated comedy event about courage, competition and carrying a tune. . . . “ If you’re unfamiliar with Jennings’ work, get acquainted with the ridiculously charming Son of Rambow. The 1980’s-set coming-of-age tale, about two English schoolboys who make a film inspired by First Blood, is partly based on Garth’s own childhood experience with a camcorder.


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