The studio started strong with 2010’s Despicable Me, the movie that introduced us to Steve Carrell’s loveable evil mastermind Gru and his gaggle of yellow-headed Minions. In the years since, Despicable Me has gone on to spawn two direct sequels, with its Minions getting two of their own spin-off features.
In between, Illumination has delighted viewers with films like the Easter tale Hop starring Russell Brand, adaptations of Dr Suess's The Lorax and The Grinch, two outings for The Secret Life of Pets, a pair of Sing movies and 2023’s megahit The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Read more: Every upcoming Pixar film
What else has the studio got up its sleeve? Read on to discover every upcoming Illumination animation heading our way.
Migration | 22 December 2023
Danny DeVito, Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key and Peep Show's David Mitchell make up the primary cast for Migration, the next movie on Illumination’s release schedule slate.
Together, they’ll tell the story of a family of Mallard ducks who fancy a change and convince their father to ditch their familiar pond and embark on a migration trek from sleepy New England to sunny Jamaica via New York City.
Viewers won’t have to wait long to find out how the trip goes, with Migration hitting cinemas over Christmas 2023.
Watch a trailer for Migration
Despicable Me 4 | 3 July 2024
You can’t keep a good bad guy down and that certainly seems to be the case for Gru, Despicable Me’s scarf-loving anti-hero. After appearing in three big-screen outings, Illumination set an official release date for Despicable Me 4 in February. However, details on its plot have remained as elusive as a supervillain’s hide-out.
Speaking to Digital Spy, series star Steve Carrell who provides the voice of Gru, shed some light on what’s in store, explaining that things pretty much pick up where they left off: “It's a continuation of the story. Gru and Lucy are married; they're a family at this point. It's the next step in their world with the Anti-Villain League and how their kids are included in the whole process.”
Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 | TBA
With 2023's Super Mario Bros. exceeding expectations and grossing over £1bn at the global box office, a sequel is all but guaranteed. There's been no official announcement from Illumination or partners Nintendo as yet, but actor Chris Pratt — who voices the title role — says news of a sequel will come "soon" once the ongoing writers' strike is over. "Everything has been paused and [put] on hold for the right reasons," he told ET Online.
Big Tree | TBA
While without a concrete release date, Illumination has revealed that it has snatched up the rights to Big Tree, a new concept developed by Steven Spielberg and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri.
While details are limited, reports suggest Big Tree will be an uplifting story that will focus on two sycamore seeds who end up saving the world whilst looking for a safe place to grow. The movie has also been described as a “love letter to the natural world.”
The Secret Life of Pets 3 | TBA
Company CEO Meledandri confirmed that a third instalment of The Secret Life of Pets was in the works during a visit to The Gary and Kenny Show podcast — but since then, almost no additional information has hit the internet. Odds are, it’ll continue the animal antics that made parts one and two so successful.
Sing 3 | TBA
According to Meledandri, a third movie in Garth Jennings’ Sing series about a group of animals who take part in a singing competition is “deep into development.”
The Illumination CEO went on to tease that the threequel will “involve characters from the original cast, but it will take us into a new world,” but other than that, no concrete details have emerged just yet.
Untitled Pharrell Williams Project | TBA
After providing music to Illumination’s The Grinch, singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams plans to keep his collaboration with the studio going strong with his own dedicated project.
“He’s somebody that I will collaborate with as long as I’m making movies,” explained Meledandri of the as-yet-untitled project, with Williams calling it a “meeting of the minds.”
As for what it will entail, we’ll all have to wait and see.
Watch a trailer for the Super Mario Bros. Movie