"Despicable Me" Courtesy/Illumination Entertainment There is a company that makes animated movies that are wildly popular with fans and which make the most money at the box office — and it is not Pixar. Illumination Entertainment has only been releasing films through Universal Pictures since 2010, beginning with “Despicable Me,” and it has become a hit-making machine. Minions make money, and they sell lots of toys, too. The Minions and Gru and the gang return in “Despicable Me 3,” the latest megahit for Chris Meledandri, who owns and operates the company with Universal. It’s his eighth film with the company, and consider the track record: Illumination movies have averaged $274 million at the domestic box office, $674 million worldwide. Pixar? Close behind, at $265 million and $635 million, respectively, but running second, which seems remarkable considering the brand and its fans of Pixar heart and humor. Illumination has taken its movies’ brand of zany comedy that targets all ages, and it has hit the jackpot. The highest-grossing animated movie is 2015’s “Minions,” which made an astounding $1.159 billion worldwide. The company’s films have not achieved the quality or Oscar-winning reputation of Pixar, but they are no less beloved by […]
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