The film grossed over $546 million worldwide, against a budget of $69 million. It launched the Despicable Me franchise with a series of films, including the sequel Despicable Me 2 in 2013, and the prequel Minions released in 2015 featuring Gru's Minions as the main characters. Another sequel, Despicable Me 3, was released in 2017.
Gru, a supervillain, is disheartened when an unknown supervillain steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. Gru, with the assistance of his colleague Dr. Nefario and his Minions, resolves to one-up this mystery rival by shrinking and stealing the Moon. As it would be costly to steal the moon, Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil. Bank president Mr. Perkins is impressed by the plan but will provide the money only if Gru can obtain the necessary shrink ray first. Upon learning that an up-and-coming villain named Vector was responsible for the pyramid theft, Gru starts a rivalry with him.
Gru and the Minions steal the shrink ray from a secret base in East Asia, but Vector intercepts them and steals it for himself. Gru attempts to break into Vector's fortress to recover the shrink ray 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 and adopts the girls, planning on using them to infiltrate Vector's base so he can get the shrink ray back. However, Gru has trouble 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 steals the shrink ray. The girls then suggest a day at a theme park; Gru agrees, believing he can abandon the girls there, but instead he warms up to them. Later, Gru contacts Perkins via video chat, stating that he finally has the shrink ray. 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. Gru, inspired, sells parts of his lair to construct a spacecraft. Gru plans to steal the Moon when it is nearest the Earth, but this is 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, Perkins informs Vector, revealed to be Perkins' son, of Gru's possession of the shrink ray and the adoption of the three girls, encouraging Vector to act.
Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon, and rushes back to Earth to attend the recital — only to find a ransom note from Vector, who has kidnapped the girls. After arriving at Vector's headquarters, Gru surrenders the Moon, but Vector reneges on the deal, flying off with the girls and the Moon. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario has discovered that the effects of the shrink ray are temporary; the bigger the object's original size, the faster the shrinkage will wear off. As the Moon starts to expand in Vector's ship, Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions execute 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 returned the Great Pyramid and re-adopted the girls, writing them a bedtime storybook framed around his own experience. The film ends with the girls performing their own ballet recital for Gru, his mother Marlena, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions.Steve Carell as Gru, a mean supervillain
Jason Segel as Victor "Vector" Perkins, Mr. Perkins' son and Gru's rival
Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Gru's elderly gadget man and a friendly scientist
Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, the oldest of the three girls
Dana Gaier as Edith, the middle sister of the three girls
Elsie Fisher as Agnes, the youngest of the three girls
Will Arnett as Mr. Perkins, the President of the Bank of Evil and Vector's father
Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie, owner of the orphanage Miss Hattie's Home for Girls
Julie Andrews as Marlena, Gru's mother
Pierre Coffin as Kevin,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
Jack McBrayer as a carnival barker/tourist Father
Danny McBride as Fred McDade, Gru's neighbor
Mindy Kaling as a tourist mother, Justin's mother
Rob Huebel as an anchorman
Ken Daurio as an Egyptian guard
Ken Jeong as a talk show host
Despicable Me was initially developed by Sergio Pablos under the original title Evil Me. He later participated in development during the early stages of the production and took the package unsolicited to Universal Pictures where he became the first of several screenwriters on the project as well as executive producer.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.
NBC (which is owned by Universal) had an extensive marketing campaign leading up to the film's release. Sneak peeks were shown in episodes of The Biggest Loser. Despicable Me was also featured on Last Comic Standing when Gru comes in to audition. IHOP restaurants promoted the film by introducing three new menu items, a kids' breakfast meal, and a drink all having the word "minion" in them. Best Buy released a free smartphone application called "Best Buy Movie Mode", which translated what the Minions were saying during the end credits of the 3D theatrical release. For the home media release of the film, the application was updated to translate the Minions' language throughout the entire film.
In May 2010, three books related to the movie were published, as well as the children's puppet book featured in the film. The first, My Dad the Super Villain (ISBN 0-316-08382-8), was rated as a preschool book. The second, Despicable Me: The Junior Novel (ISBN 0-316-08380-1), was rated as being a Junior Reader for ages 8 to 12. The third, Despicable Me: The World's Greatest Villain (ISBN 0-316-08377-1), was rated for ages 3–6 years. The puppet book Sleepy Kittens (ISBN 0-316-08381-X) was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio and illustrated by Eric Guillon.
A video game titled Despicable Me: The Game was released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Wii. A Nintendo DS version was released under the name Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Namco also released a version for the iPhone and iPad platform entitled Despicable Me: Minion Mania, developed by Anino Games. An application for iOS and Androids was also released under the name Despicable Me: Minion Rush. It was developed by Gameloft and made available to the public in 2013.
Despicable Me was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on December 14, 2010. The release included three new short films, titled Home Makeover, Orientation Day and Banana. The film was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on June 6, 2017.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a rating of 81% based on 192 reviews and an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own." Metacritic, another review aggregation website, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars, saying the directors were skilled at "springing surprises" from the writers' "ingenious" screenplay. Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Since villains so often steal the show in animation, Despicable Me smartly turns the whole operation over to megalomaniacal rogue Gru." Robert Wilonsky of The Village Voice wrote, "The result is pleasant and diverting, if ultimately forgettable, and it's one of the rare instances in the recent history of 3-D's resurrection as The Savior of Cinema in which the technology doesn't dim the screen or distract the focus." Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "The setup is pure Looney Tunes, and indeed, Despicable Me is at its best when trading in the anything-for-a-laugh prankery that was a specialty of the Termite Terrace crowd." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me is a 3D cartoon comedy of whiplash-quick laughs, funny punch lines and a wickedly gimmicky appreciation for 3D." Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote, "Kids will dig it, adults will smile with amusement, and no one will be any different afterward than they were walking into the theater." Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film three and a half stars out of five, saying, "Neither as rich in story nor stunning in animation as Pixar offerings, Despicable Me instead settles for simply being goofy good fun, and it hardly seems like settling at all."
Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Short, sweet-and-sour, and amusing rather than funny, Despicable Me can't help but be likable." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "You'll probably leave the theater smiling, but don't expect to be emotionally engaged, Pixar-style. You'll be tickled, not touched." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "A whip-smart family movie that makes inventive use of the summer's ubiquitous 3-D technology is something worth cheering." Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Despicable Me appeals both to our innocence and our glee over cartoon anarchy." Jason Anderson of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me may not match the stratospherically high standards set by Up and WALL-E but that hardly matters when it’s this much fun." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me has enough visual novelty and high spirits to keep the kiddies diverted and just enough wit to placate the parents." Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "The film is funny, energetic, teeth-gnashingly venomous and animated with an eye to exploiting the 3-D process with such sure-fire techniques as a visit to an amusement park." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "By taking the "heart" part just seriously enough, and in the nick of time, the movie saves itself from itself."
Kim Newman of Empire gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "It's no first-rank CGI cartoon, but shows how Pixar's quality over crass is inspiring the mid-list. Fun, with teary bits, for kids; fresh and smart for adults." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The film throws so much ersatz cleverness and overdone emotion at the audience that we end up more worn out than entertained." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Unfortunately Despicable Me is just, predictably -- eh. And the one thing the larcenous Gru never steals is our heart." Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Right now, any excuse for air conditioning will do. So it's a happy bonus to find that Despicable Me is more than just a heat-busting baby-sitter." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "This is a smartly written comedy with a soft emotional core." Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Despicable Me may not be the most sophisticated kids movie ever, but it stacks up against recent animated fare like How To Train Your Dragon the way The New York Review of Books compares to USA Today." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "An improbably heartwarming, not to mention visually delightful, diversion." Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail gave the film four out of four stars, saying, "This animated thing pretty near out-Pixars Pixar." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "When compared with the ambition and achievement of recent animated films, such as Coraline and Toy Story 3, Despicable Me hardly seems to have been worth making, and it's barely worth watching."
Bob Mondello of NPR gave the film an eight out of ten, saying, "It's all thoroughly adorable, and with an overlay that's nearly as odd as Carell's accent: Despicable Me looks a lot like other computer-animated pictures." Mary F. Pols of MSN Movies gave the film four out of five stars, saying, "The movie finishes strong, managing to be sweet without being saccharine. It's no Toy Story 3, but Despicable Me is a solid alternative." A.O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "So much is going on in this movie that, while there's nothing worth despising, there's not much to remember either." Laremy Legel of Film.com gave the film an A-, saying, "Despicable Me is darned cute. I know cute isn't to the lofty level of "message storytelling" but it can be entertaining to watch when done correctly." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Despicable doesn't measure up to Pixar at its best. Nonetheless, it's funny, clever and warmly animated with memorable characters." Steve Persall of the Tampa Bay Times gave the film a B, saying, "Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud craft a fun stretch run, wrapping the story with warm, fuzzy funnies and nothing to suggest a sequel, which is probably wise." Tasha Robinson of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying, "Until the "creep + orphans = happy family" formula starts demanding abrupt, unconvincing character mutations, Despicable Me is a giddy joy." Marjorie Baumgarten of The Austin Chronicle gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Everyone knows that the villains are usually the most interesting characters in any movie. So the makers of Despicable Me were wise to cut to the chase and make the megalomaniacal Gru the central character in this animated film."
Released on July 9, 2010, in the United States, Despicable Me opened at the number one spot at the box office and pulled in $56.3 million, making it the third biggest opening grossing for an animated film in 2010 behind Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After. In its second weekend, the film dipped 42% to second place behind Inception with $32.8 million earned. The film then had another drop of 27% in its third weekend and finished in third place with $23.8 million. On August 5, 2010, the film crossed the $200 million mark, becoming the first Universal film to reach the milestone since 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum.
On the weekend lasting from September 3–5, 2010, it surpassed Shrek Forever After to become the second highest-grossing animated film of 2010 in the United States and Canada, behind Toy Story 3. It was also the highest-grossing non-DreamWorks/non-Disney·Pixar animated film of all time in these territories, since overtaken by its sequel. The film has made $251,513,985 in the United States and Canada as well as an estimated $291,600,000 internationally for a worldwide total of $546,010,705, against its $69 million budget. This film is also Universal's sixth highest-grossing film (unadjusted for inflation) and the tenth-highest-grossing animated feature of all-time in North America. In worldwide earnings, it is the sixth biggest film of Universal Studios, the fourth highest-grossing animated film of 2010 trailing Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, and Tangled, the 25th highest-grossing animated film of all time and the 9th highest-grossing film of 2010.
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 (Lucy Wilde and Floyd Eagle-san). New cast members include Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo, Gru's nemesis, and Steve Coogan as Silas Ramsbottom.
Another sequel, titled Despicable Me 3, was 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 1960s, 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.