Illumination Entertainment has released the first trailer for the latter (watch it above), which reveals that the Minions have been around on Earth for millions of years and have served (or, rather, inadvertently killed) countless evil masters over that period of time. However, most of Minions‘ storyline takes place in the 1960s, as three Minions – Bob, Kevin and Stuart – travel to America and vie to become the henchmen to Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), a villain determined to be the first female super-villain.
Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm provides the voice of Scarlet’s inventor husband, Herb Overkill, while the rest of the main voice cast includes such folk as Michael Keaton (Birdman), Allison Janney (Mom), and Steve Coogan (who also voiced Silas Ramsbottom in Despicable Me 2). Kyle Balda (The Lorax) and Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me 1 & 2) co-directed Minions based on a script written by Brian Lynch, who previously co-wrote the Shrek franchise spinoff Puss in Boots.
Despicable Me 2 was a box office smash ($970 million worldwide) and generally well-received critically, though one of the film’s common criticisms was that the Minions’ antics were so often thrust into the spotlight that it detracted from the actual main storyline in the sequel. Minions will avoid repeating that mistake, by simply making the title characters the primary focus instead, ahead of the humans players’ subplot.
Minions, as mentioned before, isn’t the first time a popular side character(s) in a successful franchise have been spun-off into their own film, nor will it be the last (see the developing LEGO Batman). These films often hit it big at the box office, since the idea of a spinoff dedicated to a scene-stealer from a previous feature… well, it sells itself. Sometimes, though, that move isn’t for the best, creatively speaking.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (technically not a spinoff) pushed a popular non-protagonist (Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow) fully into the limelight; the final movie result was a box office hit… but a critical miss. The Minions won’t have to carry their own movie by themselves (unlike Captain Sparrow with On Stranger Tides), so hopefully the result this time around is better by comparison. If not, well, we still have Despicable Me 3 to look forward to in 2017.
Minions opens in U.S. theaters on July 10th, 2015.