The film tells the story of a super-intelligent alien supervillain, Megamind, who after a long-lasting battle one day actually destroys his foe, the much-loved superhero Metro Man. Having Metro City for himself, Megamind finds out that his villainy has no purpose and thus creates a new superhero to serve as his nemesis. His plan backfires, as he ends up creating instead a new super-villain. With Metro City spiraling out of control, Megamind attempts to set things right and discovers his newfound purpose—as a superhero.
Megamind is shown falling at the beginning of the film and he explains how. Many years ago, Megamind was a super-intelligent alien who was evacuated from his homeworld as a baby, as was Metro Man; the two later arrive on Earth, falling into the paths of super villainy and superheroism respectively and grow up as rivals fighting to take control over Metro City. Megamind is consistently defeated by Metro Man and is in prison. After using a holographic watch to escape with the aid of Minion, a talking fish with the robotic body of a gorilla, he kidnaps Metro Man's supposed love interest, reporter Roxanne Ritchi and holds her hostage to lure him into a trap. Finding that copper is Metro Man's one weakness, Megamind's plan to obliterate him with a death ray powered by the sun succeeds, and Megamind finally takes over the city.
His joy is short lived though, as without a hero to fight, he finds his life as a villain has become meaningless. He goes to the Metro Man Museum, which was dedicated to him on the day of his death and nearly runs into Roxanne. He uses his holographic watch to disguise himself as the museum's curator Bernard, and she innocently gives him the idea of creating a new superhero to take Metro Man's place.
After creating a formula from Metro Man's DNA, Roxanne intervenes in his plans and he accidentally injects the serum into Hal Stewart, Roxanne's dimwitted cameraman, who has an unrequited crush on her. Under the guise of his "Space Dad", Megamind tries to mold Hal into a superhero named Titan, as it was the only name he could trademark but this was misheard by Hal as "Tighten". Unfortunately, Hal's ambitions are crushed when he sees Roxanne and Megamind as Bernard on a date. However, Roxanne unknowingly shuts off Megamind's disguise during dinner and she rejects him, causing him to lose track of his invisible car which contains the diffuser gun capable of removing Hal's powers.
On the day of their planned battle, Hal doesn't show up and Megamind finds that he has been using his powers for ill-gotten gains and wants to team up with Megamind to take over Metro City. Megamind informs Hal that he tricked him, revealing his Space Dad and Bernard disguises. This enrages Hal, and he tries to destroy Megamind, who activates a failsafe to trap Hal in copper as it was Metro Man's weakness, but that too fails. After he escapes, Megamind pleads with Roxanne for help, and they go to Metro Man's hideout to search for clues to why the copper didn't work. Instead they find Metro Man, still alive; having felt pushed into the life of a superhero, he chose to fake his death (and, by extension, his weakness to copper) so he could retire in order to do something that he wanted to do: pursue a career in music. He refuses to help despite the danger, but encourages Megamind that good will always rise up against evil.
Not seeing himself as a hero, Megamind gives up and returns to prison. Meanwhile, Hal kidnaps Roxanne and holds her hostage to call Megamind out of hiding. Megamind begs the Warden to release him to face this threat, inadvertently apologizing for an argument he'd had with Minion earlier that caused the two to separate. Minion reveals himself under the Warden's disguise and the two leave to face Hal together.
At Metro Tower, Hal threatens to send it toppling into the city with Roxanne tied to the roof. Megamind appears and tricks Hal, freeing Roxanne, and the two flee as he throws the tower at them. Roxanne gets away, but Megamind is struck by the tower's antenna and appears near death. Metro Man finally appears and chases Hal away from the scene as Roxanne discovers that the Megamind that saved her was actually Minion, and that Metro Man is actually Megamind in disguise. He successfully intimidates Hal, but accidentally mispronounces the city's name Metro City as 'Metrocity' as Megamind often did, and Hal returns. Finding the invisible car, Megamind grabs the diffuser gun just as Hal hurls him into the sky. To avoid falling to his death, Megamind dehydrates himself and lands in the fountain in front of Hal. He immediately rehydrates; his de-powering gun lands in his hands and he fires it at Hal, removing Hal's powers and returning him to normal. Now hailed as heroes, Megamind and Minion appear at the reopening of Metro Man's museum, now dedicated to Megamind instead, while Metro Man, in disguise within the crowd, silently congratulates his former rival.
In a mid-credits scene Minion is doing the laundry when a re-hydrated Bernard pops out of the washing machine. After chiding Megamind about cleaning out his pockets, he knocks Bernard out with the Forget-Me Stick.Will Ferrell as Megamind, an extraterrestrial mastermind who turns from supervillain to superhero. He is a spoof of Lex Luthor and Brainiac, while his "Space Dad" persona is a parody of Jor-El as played by Marlon Brando in the 1978 film Superman. The DVD commentary notes that his costume and showmanship are purposely evocative of Alice Cooper.
Tina Fey as Roxanne "Roxie" Ritchi, a TV news reporter who becomes Megamind's love interest. She is a spoof of Lois Lane.
Jonah Hill as Hal Stewart/Tighten, Roxanne Ritchi's hapless, dimwitted but nerdy cameraman who has unrequited feelings for her. His motivation throughout the film is to get her back to his apartment with him. He later becomes a villain named Tighten (he misspells "Titan"). The name Hal Stewart refers to Hal Jordan and John Stewart of the Green Lantern Corps.
David Cross as Minion, a sapient talking fish who has been Megamind's sidekick and best friend since childhood. His costume is evocative of Ro-Man from Robot Monster.
Brad Pitt as Metro Man, Megamind's former nemesis. He is a spoof of Superman. The DVD commentary notes that his costume and showmanship are purposely evocative of Elvis Presley.
J. K. Simmons as the Warden, the no-nonsense head of Metro City Prison.
Ben Stiller as Bernard, a museum curator whom Megamind impersonates to win Roxanne's affections.
Justin Theroux as Megamind's father.
Christopher Knights as a prison guard.
Tom McGrath as Lord Scott and a prison guard.
Jack Blessing as Newscaster.
Jessica Schulte as Megamind's mother.
The film was written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. It was first titled Master Mind, and then Oobermind. It was suggested that Ben Stiller would be cast as Megamind, and later Robert Downey, Jr. but Will Ferrell was ultimately given the role, due to "scheduling conflicts" for Downey. Lara Breay and Denise Nolan Cascino were the film's producers, and Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld were the executive producers. Justin Theroux and Guillermo del Toro worked as creative consultants on the film. Del Toro only came onboard three weeks before the end of production, but went on to have a more substantial role in subsequent DreamWorks Animation films. The opening of the film, where Megamind is falling to his apparent death, was del Toro's idea.
Megamind: Music from the Motion Picture is a soundtrack to the film of the same name, composed by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, and released on November 2, 2010 by Lakeshore Records.
Megamind premiered on October 28, 2010, in Russia, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 5, 2010. It was supposed to be released in Japan on March 12, 2011, but because of the earthquake and tsunami a day before, the Japanese release was cancelled.
Megamind was promoted at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, with Tom McGrath, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Will Ferrell, who was dressed as Megamind.
Megamind was released on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD on February 25, 2011, accompanied with an all-new short titled Megamind: The Button of Doom. The Button of Doom also had its television premiere on Nick, which was aired on February 26, 2011. It was the seventh-best-selling DVD of 2011 with over 3 million units sold and total sales of $43 million.
The film was released on Blu-ray 3D in March 2011 exclusively as a part of Samsung 3D Starter Kits, and on September 11, 2011, exclusively at Best Buy stores.
In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures.
Megamind opened to $12,530,397 on opening day, and earned $46,016,833 over the three-day weekend, taking the No. 1 spot and averaged $11,668 from around 7,300 screens at 3,944 theaters. The opening was a bit higher than How to Train Your Dragon, which earned $43.7 million back in March 2010. It was the fifth-highest opening for an animated feature in 2010. In its second weekend, it repeated at No. 1 and dropped 37% to $29,120,461 for a $7,374 average from 3,949 theaters, and bringing its 10-day cumulative total to $88,822,635. On its third weekend, it fell 45% to $16,012,831 and finished second to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, averaging $4,237 from 3,779 theaters. Over Thanksgiving weekend, it held well with just a 22% drop to $12,575,778 and slid to third place behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Tangled (it earned $17,304,307 over the five-day Thanksgiving period). Following Thanksgiving, the film fell a sharp 61% in its fifth weekend to $4,936,851 and finished in sixth place.
The film closed in theaters on February 24, 2011 (a day before it was released on DVD and Blu-ray), earning $148,415,853 in North America, and $173,469,912 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $321,885,765. The final gross was on the low end for a DreamWorks Animation film, but was still a box office success since it beat its $130 million budget. It is the sixth-highest-grossing animated film from 2010 worldwide, behind Toy Story 3 ($1.063 billion), Shrek Forever After ($753 million), Tangled ($591 million), Despicable Me ($543 million), and How to Train Your Dragon ($494 million). The film also became the highest-grossing film worldwide in both Ferrell and Fey's careers. During its release, it also became the third-highest-grossing superhero comedy film, behind The Incredibles and Big Hero 6.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 73% based on 175 reviews and an average rating of 6.7 out of 10. The site's consensus states the film "regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 63 based on 33 reviews. Audiences polled by Cinemascore gave Megamind a grade A- on a scale from A+ to F-.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three out of four stars, stating "This set-up is bright and amusing, even if it does feel recycled from bits and pieces of such recent animated landmarks as The Incredibles with its superpowers and Despicable Me with its villain." Stephen Holden, of The New York Times, positively wrote in his review, "Visually Megamind is immaculately sleek and gracefully enhanced by 3-D." Entertainment Weekly reviewer Owen Gleiberman graded the film a B+ and wrote, "...too goofy-surreal to pack a lot of emotional punch, but it's antically light on its feet, with 3-D images that have a lustrous, gizmo-mad sci-fi clarity." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone commented, "What this raucous 3D animated fun house lacks in originality (think bastard child of The Incredibles and Despicable Me) it makes up for in visual and vocal wit." In a mixed review, Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Just as Megamind struggles to find his center, at times, so does the film."
The main point of criticism was the unoriginality of the film. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "You have seen all this before", while Justin Chang of Variety said: "Though enlivened by some moderately clever twists on the superhero-movie template, Megamind never shakes off a feeling of been-there-spoofed-that." Claudia Puig of USA Today even asked: "Do we really need Megamind when Despicable Me is around?".
Several video game tie-ins published by THQ were released on November 2, 2010 to coincide with the film's release. An Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version is titled Megamind: Ultimate Showdown, while the Wii version is titled Megamind: Mega Team Unite and the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS versions are both titled Megamind: The Blue Defender. All three versions of the game have been rated E10+ for fantasy violence by the ESRB.
DreamWorks Animation and WildStorm produced a 32-page full-color comic book titled The Reign of Megamind, which was released in July 2010 exclusively at the Comic-Con convention. Full version of the comic is also available on the Megamind website.
Ape Entertainment released under Kizoic label five full colour comic books based on the film. A 52-page prequel titled "MEGAMIND: Reign of Megamind" was released in October 2010. It features two stories titled "The Reign of Megamind" and "MINION 2.0". The stories show Megamind and Minion's biggest failures in their attempt to defeat Metro Man. In 2010 and 2011 followed a mini series of four 32-page books. The comic book #1 features story titled "Can I Have This Dance", #2 features "Bad Minion! Bad!", #3 features "Megamutt" and #4 features "A Sidekick's Sidekick".
In April 2011, DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, commented that the studio did not have plans to produce future movie genre parodies like Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Megamind, saying that these films "all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don't have anything like that coming on our schedule now."