Illumination Entertainment have had a steady rise to become one of the top animated film companies out there, and certainly a worthy rival to Disney/ Pixar. After scoring massive hits with Despicable Me 2 and Minions, it was perhaps questionable whether the company could do anything other than deliver movies focused on the small, yellow, completely crazy little creatures, especially since their non-minion related efforts (including The Lorax, and Hop) have only performed averagely at the box office.
However, the company have more than proven their worth with The Secret Life of Pets. The film follows what our pets get up to when we're not home - specifically, a pampered terrier, Max, and his new adoptive brother, Duke. The pair's oil-and-water relationship eventually leads to mayhem, and finding themselves lost in New York. With the help of an underground gang of 'flushed' pets, led by a cute yet crazy bunny, Snowball, they find their way home. The Secret Life of Pets has tapped into the public's love of their pets, as well as the current trend for viral pet videos and memes on social media, and delivered a madcap movie that thoroughly entertains. Unsurprisingly, Illumination have quickly announced that a sequel is on the way.
With a release date set for July, 2018, The Secret Life of Pets 2 will see the return of writer Brian Lynch (Minions) and once again be directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me series, The Lorax). There isn't any word on possible plotlines or characters since it's still so early, but it seems safe to assume that the majority of the pets featured in the first movie will be back, since it is their characterization that drives the film and makes it so popular.
The animals featured are all insanely cute... and, in the case of Snowball, also insane. It's their behavior, reasoning, and all round likability that will make audiences want to come back for more.
The announcement comes on the day that The Secret Life of Pets crossed $400 million at the global box office, with $300.3 million being taken domestically. As a comparison, Minions grossed $336 million domestically, and over $1.157 billion worldwide. Though The Secret Life of Pets might not reach those dizzying heights of success, it's still performing extremely well, and it's not done yet. In fact, the film still has 48 more territories to open in, including China. Currently, The Secret Life of Pets holds the record for the most successful opening for an original animated film (not Pixar, or Disney).
Illumination will be hoping for similar successes with their upcoming slate, too. Sing is their next movie lined up for release, in December 2016; a film set in a world of animals, where a struggling theater owner (a Koala by the name of Buster) decides to host an American Idol style singing competition. The film features the voice talents of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly. After that comes Despicable Me 3, before The Secret Life of Pets 2, and then How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of The Grinch, set to arrive at the end of 2018.
The Secret Life of Pets is playing in theaters now. The Secret Life of Pets 2 will be released in U.S. theaters on July 13, 2018.