Illumination Entertainment Animated Movies Ranked

11. Minions (2015)

Illumination Entertainment Minions

Budget: $74million
Worldwide Box Office: $1.16billion
Cast: Pierre Coffin, Steve Carell, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush, Jennifer Saunders

Minions Review

Minions was such a bizarre film that it was almost fixating. It was, in fact, so ridiculous that it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could come up with it.

World-spanning events of epic proportions, subplots involving British royalty, a tonne of 1960s free love winks and nods for the adults, and a whole heap of silliness, Minions was what happens when a studio knows they can’t fail.

It was the type of movie that made even less sense than the language the popular little creatures use to communicate, yet it was beautifully animated and almost charming in how frighteningly random it was. It was hardly a good movie, but it gave fans of the Minions all they could have asked for: more Minions. Besides, it wasn’t as bad as Hop, so that’s something… and did you know that it’s the fourth highest-grossing animated film of all time? You do now.

10. Sing 2 (2021)

Budget: $85million
Worldwide Box Office: $408million
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll, Garth Jennings, Jennifer Saunders, Chelsea Peretti, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Offerman, Adam Buxton, Eric André, Letitia Wright, Pharrell Williams, Halsey, Bono

The sequel to Illumination Entertainment’s reality show-inspired musical sought to offer the same kind of experience as the original: an endorphin-boosting jukebox of popular musical hits presented through colourful characters each designed to be as child-friendly and as inoffensive as the market research team at Universal could come up with.

Sing 2 wasn’t quite the smash hit that the first Sing was, its formula becoming stale at the same rate as the reality shows it borrowed its formula from. The segmented nature of its narrative allowed for a range of cameos and smaller roles, which attracted one of the most star-studded casts in animated film history (likely due to most of the roles requiring less than a day’s voiceover work to complete), but it also took an already disjointed narrative formula and stretched it further.

Sing 2 was turn your brain off fun, an amalgamation of the kinds of things you might experience on Facebook’s recommended feed or a less-than-stellar TikTok run, but it didn’t nourish the soul like some of the films to come on this list. It didn’t even earn itself the respect that Sing did.

9. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)

Budget: $75million
Worldwide Box Office: $512million
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Kenan Thompson, Pharrell Williams, Angela Lansbury, Scarlett Estevez, Mindy Sterling

Very much in the ilk of fellow Illumination Entertainment animation Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in that it’s a brightly coloured, well-voiced animated take on a classic children’s book, Dr. Suess’ The Grinch is perhaps not the hilarious (albeit at times frustrating) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) but is a very serviceable festive treat to families and particularly younger viewers.

Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch lends his iconic baritone voice to the legendary character in a take more associated with the book than the 2000 film by Ron Howard, his casting being one of the selling points to an animation that lacks in star power relative to a lot of other Illumination releases.

Like a lot of the animation studio’s biggest and brightest, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch was a film that didn’t take any risks in freshening up the classic story or animating it in a particularly inventive way, but pleased those who knew what they were getting in for and was an enjoyable albeit largely forgettable release.

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