Steve Carell is about to get back into character for one of his most successful franchises and it isn’t all that surprising. This group of movies has been a massive success at the box office with his lead character one of the more recognizable in the animation space. That’s right, according to The Wrap (via Comicbook.com), Illumination has said they are putting out Despicable Me 4 and Carell will be returning to the role of Felonious Gru for the film. It looks like the career villain turned sympathetic figure will be going for another whacky caper, this time with his sights set on space.
According to the initial description of Despicable Me 4, Gru (Steve Carell) will be using his minions to enact one of his craziest crimes yet, stealing the Moon. What his plan is when he finally gets hold of the lunar rock isn’t quite clear, but apparently along the way he’ll be enlisting the help of three little girls who end up looking to him more as a father figure. Because this franchise has been all about softening this former super-villain, the story falls mostly in line with what we’ve seen before in terms of overall plot points. Chris Renaud will handle directing duties with Mike White (The One and Only Ivan, Pitch Perfect) penning the script.
The Despicable Me franchise has been nothing short of a smashing success for Illumination through its first three movies with the box office receipts only climbing for Steve Carell and company. The first movie did a little north of $540 million in ticket sales worldwide with the second and third movies taking in $970 million and then $1.03 billion respectively. You can see why there would be an appetite to bring even more stories into this universe sooner than later. It’s a group of characters and an overall concept that’s had staying power with no issue bringing in new fans over the years. The spin-off movie Minions has helped in this respect with that group of characters really bringing in some brand recognition.
And the critics have liked most of what they’ve gotten from the first three Despicable Me films. With the general consensus that Steve Carell brings a comedic charm and sensibility to the Gru character, the Rotten Tomatoes scores have gone 81%, 75%, and 59% through the initial run. That’s not beating down Pixar’s door in terms of critical reception, but it’s solid enough all things considered. And again, money most definitely talks in this kind of venture.
With the announcement that Illumination would be bringing back Steve Carell and company for Despicable Me 4, the studio has also set a target release date of July 4, 2023, putting it smack dab in the middle of summer movie season. The previous three movies were all released in a similar timeline (late June/ early July) so there’s no reason to mess around with this kind of thing. It’s near the beginning of summer break for a majority of the core demographic for the film, giving it the best chance of success for sure.