One in a minion: Illumination falls flat after single successful movie

Sophia Bradley

Animation studios are in a constant battle to get their movies the most attention from the public. Some studios never fail to provide a good movie for their intended audiences. Walt Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks are all examples of studios that provide good movies quite frequently. On the other hand, Illumination is one of those studios that makes low quality movies just for profit. They don’t really care about making entertaining movies. They simply don’t care about their audience or movies as much as other studios do and primarily focus on marketing.

Let’s start off with Despicable Me, which is one of the highest grossing Illumination franchises. The first movie has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with decent reviews from critics. The total production budget for the three Despicable Me movies along with Minions is about $294 million. Worldwide they made a little less than $4 billion. While Despicable Me was a decent movie, the rest of the movies in the franchise ruined it by overly depending on minion and fart jokes. The movies had the potential of being heart warming and clever, but Illumination decided not to take that route and it pretty much ruined the franchise.

Hop is Illumination’s lowest grossing movie to date with a whopping 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie came out after Despicable Me, but they didn’t seem to learn anything from the success of that movie. Hop’s budget for shooting the movie was $63 million and earned $184 million in box office when it came out. Basically the movie is about the Easter Bunny getting ready to pass his job down to his son, E.B. has absolutely no interest in the new job but aspires to be a drummer. So of course, he runs away to Los Angeles from Easter Island and proceeds to (technically illegally) move in with an unemployed, middle-aged man named Fred O’Hare. Overall Hop isn’t good, and it seemed as if the studio tried very little to make it a decent movie.

The Secret Life of Pets is one of the movies that people were actually excited for. The trailer was pretty decent and it seemed as if it could have a good story. However, that was not really the case when it came out. The plot was not what anyone was really expecting, and it really just didn’t execute anything very well. People were expecting a cute movie that shares the stories of a variety of pets and how they live their daily lives. Instead, they got a story about a dog, Max, who has to deal with his owner bringing home another dog, Duke. They fight and don’t get along up until they get lost in Manhattan and then proceed to find out that there is a tiny bunny named Snowball building an army of lost pets. They are forced to fight the gang of pets while their other pet friends run around the city trying to rescue them. If this plotline sounds familiar, that’s because it is pretty much the exact plot of Toy Story.

Sing is actually not that bad of a movie. They did, of course, use nearly 90 pop songs in it and then used them to primarily promote the movie and push ticket sales, but the use of all of the songs actually fit into the story well and it wasn’t overbearing. Instead of focusing on one central character, Illumination decided to focus on a group of characters. Each had their own story and dreams which helped push the plot along. The movie starts off with theater owner Buster Moon realizing the financial issues he is having and deciding to hold a singing competition with a prize of $1,000. However, instead of typing just three zeroes, Buster’s assistant puts in two extra ones making it $100,000 as the cash prize. He uses this competition in order to save his theater but it ends up collapsing at the end anyways and they have to rebuild it. It’s is not the best movie from the studio, but it definitely is up higher on the list.

Illumination Entertainment is simply a studio that produces bad movies with one good one every now and then, while marketing and advertising it in order to profit greatly. Unfortunately, their movies continue to become popular as their marketing strategy works incredibly well.