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July 10th marks the anticipated arrival of ‘Minions’!


With the enormous worldwide success of the first two Despicable Me films there could be no question this animated juggernaut would also start spawning spin-offs. Minions has already begun rolling out overseas and has scored the biggest opening day for an animated film in Germany, Spain, Argentina and Colombia. It is doing huge business in the U.K., where it grossed $32.7 million in its first 10 days after nabbing the biggest opening weekend of all time for an animated film. In fact, it’s made so much money that it both knocked Jurassic World off the top of the box office in the U.K. and opened to the biggest total ever for an animated feature film in merry old England. Here in North America, Minions will easily top the chart.


Minions starts out by recounting the history of the popular, mischievous yellow creatures whose sole purpose is to serve the world’s worst villains. When they find themselves without a master, they decide to attend Villain-Con in Florida, where they meet Scarlett Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock.


The supervillian instructs her new henchmen to steal St. Edward’s crown from the Tower of London, but all sorts of trouble ensues when the Minions learn the crown is on its way to Buckingham Palace. The voice cast also includes Pierre CoffinJon Hamm, Michael Keaton,Allison JanneySteve Coogan and Geoffrey Rush.


In the beginning, the Minions weren’t tiny, yellow or adorable. They didn’t have cute names like Dave, Jerry and Bob. They weren’t, in fact, minions at all. In the initial story meetings for “Despicable Me,” the creatures who surrounded Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) were big, hulking, ogre-like enforcers with minds of their own. But Chris Renaud, who directed both “Despicable Me” movies with Pierre Coffin, instinctively knew that to make hero/villain Gru more likeable, his henchmen should be less like scary monsters and more like naughty kids.


So, the ogres began morphing into the Minions, pint-sized walking Twinkies with a penchant for babbling and blind devotion to the most dastardly of villains. “There was a scene at the beginning of `Despicable Me’ where Gru is announcing his plan [to steal the moon] and as we started to storyboard it, Pierre and I [thought] that Gru’s henchmen should be like children who Gru knows by name,” said Renaud. “They should be mischievous.


“When they listen to him, they do it poorly. They only half-listen to him. Instantly, when you see a guy surrounded by incompetents, you like him. You relate to him versus someone who’s surrounded by very powerful strong henchman who are doing evil, villainous things.” As animated scene-stealers go, the Minions rank right up there with “Shrek’s” Puss N Boots and “Ice Age’s” Scrat. The hordes of yellow creatures helped turn “Despicable Me” into a $543 million-grossing success. The little guys’ roles were expanded for “Despicable Me 2” and that film racked up $970 million, making it the fourth- highest grossing cartoon of all time behind “Frozen,” “Toy Story 3” and “The Lion King.”


Now, the Minions are front and center for their very own movie

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