Is Minions Made by Disney, Pixar, or Some Other Studio?

Are Minions Made by Disney, Pixar, or Some Other Studio?

The love we have for minions has been rekindled by the latest Minion movie called Minions: The Rise of Gru, which has just been theatrically released two days ago, on July 1st. This newly released movie is a sequel to the 2015 Minions and the fifth movie overall in the Despicable Me franchise. One thing is for sure – we can’t seem to get tired of these impulsive little creatures that are somehow oddly relatable. Undoubtedly, these yellow, simple-minded cuties have found their way to our hearts. With each and every movie, we grow a little fonder of them. As some of the most favored characters were either made by Disney or Pixar, we can’t help but wonder; are these little creatures called Minions made by Disney, Pixar, or some other studio?

Minions are the signature characters of the Despicable Me series. This computer-animated comedy media franchise has been produced by Illumination (formerly Illumination Entertainment) and distributed by its parent company Universal Pictures. Since Minions is a spin-off/prequel in the overall franchise, it won’t be surprising to learn that it has also been made by the same companies – Illumination and Universal Pictures.

Having grossed over $3,7 billion, Despicable Me (yes, that includes Minions!) is thought to be the highest-grossing animated film franchise of all time. As it turns out, the Illumination studio and its parent company, Universal Pictures, have proven to be Disney’s worthy opponents. Keep on reading to find out more about the Minions and the company that made them!

Minions – were they made by Disney, Pixar, or some other studio?

Minions, Disney or Pixar?

Despicable Me is a computer-animated media franchise that is centered on Gru, a reformed super-villain, and his fellow minions. The franchise began in 2010 with a movie of the same name, under the ownership of Illumination studio and Universal Pictures.

The first movie, being a commercial success, was then followed by two sequels- Despicable Me 2 (2013), and, Despicable Me 3 (2017). The two spin-off prequels, Minions (2015) and Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022), were directed by Kyle Balda, with the help of other co-directors. Another sequel, Despicable Me 4, has yet to hit the theaters; its expected release is sometime in 2024.

RELATED: Despicable Me Movies in Order: Including Every Minions Movie

So far, the franchise has been extremely successful. It includes many short films, several video games, a television special, and even a theme park attraction. Having grossed over $3,7 billion globally, it is thought to be the 15th highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

So, who are the Minions exactly?

Who are minions?
From left to right, the main minion characters: Bob, Kevin, and Stuart.

These small, yellow, but oddly relatable creatures have grown fonder in our hearts with each and every movie. But, who are they exactly, and what makes them so irresistible?

These signature characters of the Despicable Me series are the ultimate child-like comedy bringers. Their eyes are filled with wonder and innocence, and, much like children, they have very little self-control. They can be pesky and weird while interacting with other animals, objects, or people. Occasionally switching to English, they are mostly heard speaking an incomprehensible language called Minionese. Again, just like children, they express themselves through “their language” – which is consisting mostly of actions. Oh, and did I mention their favorite fruit were apples and bananas (“bapples”)?

The Rise of Gru
Eleven-year-old Gru, and his favorite minions; Bob, Stuart, and Kevin.

Unlike in most villain plots, their master Gru gets along great with them. After all, they’ve been together since the very beginning. Although there are hundreds, possibly even thousands of minions, he knows them all by name – which is exactly why they are fiercely loyal to him. At the same time, they are extremely loveable, innocent, and friendly, but also willing to go along with any evil plan.

RELATED: 50 Best Kids Movies from the 2000s You Have to Watch (Again)

Aside from causing mischief, minions enjoy fine arts, trying new things, and comedy. Their comedy is very straightforward though; they find anything having to do with buttocks funny (in the movies, we can even see them scanning their butts in a copy machine, and prancing around in thongs!).

Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

Ilumination entertainment screen with minion

While Universal Pictures dates way back, to 1912, Illumination (formerly known as Illumination Entertainment) only came to exist in 2007, after being founded by Chris Meledandri. On the other hand, Universal Pictures is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States, and it is also the oldest member of Hollywood’s “Big Five” studios in terms of the film market. So, the fact that the most famous movies (e.g. one of the first blockbusters, Jaws) have been produced and distributed by them shouldn’t come off as a shock.

So, now that Illumination is co-owned by Picture Universal (who is their “parent company“) it feels like great accomplishments are waiting to be achieved. As of 2022, Illumination has released 12 feature movies in total, all distributed by Universal Pictures, with their first movie being Despicable Me in 2010, and the latest being Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). Excluding the Despicable Me franchise, their other most notable movies are Sing, The Secret Life of Pets, The Lorax, Hop, and The Grinch. Their upcoming slate of films also includes a movie based on the Mario franchise and Migration, both thought to be released in 2023.

Even though Disney and Pixar have always been the most well-known studios, along with their famous characters, it seems like the Illumination studio and its parent company, Universal Pictures, have proven to be their worthy opponents.

  • Nina is just another student of Cultural Studies that's slowly embracing postmodern popular culture. Her biggest interest lies in the very beginning of cinema.