I hope you liked Despicable Me 2, because there is now no shadow of a doubt that we’ll get Despicable Me 3, Minions and possibly a TV show, breakfast cereal, more video games and anything else the marketing folks at Universal can come up with. Why is this you ask? Well, the number crunchers at the studio have discovered that Despicable Me 2 was, in fact, Universal’s most profitable move EVER. That’s right. Ever.
How did Universal come to this conclusion? Well, Despicable Me 2 has pulled in a $663.5 million gross to date, on a budget of just $76 million. That’s quite a profit, and a low budget for an animated film nowadays. The Croods and Turbo both cost $135 million, while Epic cost $100 million; none of them made the money that Despicable Me 2 did.
What does this mean for the future? Spin-offs, naturally, and at least one more sequel. Unfortunately, it also means that Universal has now come to the conclusion that original ideas are not where it’s at. They plan to continue to focus on their franchises. No one at Universal seems to consider that before a Despicable Me 2, you have to have a Despicable Me; before a franchise happens, someone, somewhere, needs to take a risk.
2013’s top grossers were almost all part of franchises, but then again that might have something to do with the number of franchise films that have been released this year. It’s all very well to sing the praises of franchises, but at a certain point – often out there around the third or fourth film – people begin to get a little weary of the same material over and over again.
We’ll have to wait and see what this all means for the future of Universal. They recently partnered with Legendary Pictures, which has a strong dedication to developing original content outside of Universal’s major franchises. Maybe that partnership will be a good balance for Universal.
What do you think?