Why’d it Hit? Illumination Entertainment’s filmography
You’re probably wondering…Illumination Entertainment? What’s that? Well, they are the studio behind The Minions/Despicable Me movies, The Lorax, The Secret Life of Pets, and more. Aside from the Despicable Me movies, which produced the pop culture icons The Minions, a.k.a. those little yellow men that always appear on Facebook memes, every time Illumination releases an animated feature, the following usually happens:
- Their movies get marketed to death for over a year
- When the movie finally comes out, it gets average to decent reviews
However, Illumination has yet to release a great movie. Although many have performed well at the box office, most of them are quickly forgotten. Since most people over the age of 10 consider these movies to be disposable, why do they always do so well?
Well, long story short is that Illumination makes movies for children. While I don’t know many people around my age or older who really cares about their movies, for all I know they are really popular among the movies’ main demographic.
But I think it’s a little deeper than that. I think marketing has a lot to do with the movie’s success.
First of all, whenever they make a new movie, as I said before, they promote the heck out of them. They even play the same trailer over and over again for about a year. They make it loud and clear that they have a new movie coming out and, as a result, people go see them.
But I noticed something interesting about the trailers for their movies. Here’s a teaser trailer for Hop, their 2nd movie:
Here are shots of the trailers for The Secret Life of Pets and Sing:
Notice how they added The Minions in the trailers?
I think that’s a big reason all their movies do well. In the trailers, they let you know that they are from the same company who brought you The Minions, not only by just putting in “From the Creators of Despicable Me” but by literally having The Minions in the trailer. As a result, people (mainly children) want to see the movie because they associate it with The Minions and, therefore, their movies make money at the box office, even if they have yet to really produce a movie besides the Despicable Me franchise that’s really resonated with anybody (except kids…maybe).
In fact, the only movie of theirs I can think of (whether it’s part of Despicable Me or not) that didn’t have The Minions in the trailers is The Lorax but that was based on a Dr. Seuss book, so it didn’t really need The Minions to sell it, it just needed to be based on a Dr. Seuss book to make some money.
Although I do have another theory at least about how The Secret Life of Pets succeeded, although it’s a theory that sounds bizarre but hear me out: lately, a lot of terrible things have happened in the world. Ever since 2015, it seems like the news has just been getting worse and worse. As a result, a movie like The Secret Life of Pets, which basically looked like Internet Pet Videos: The Movie, might seem appealing because it just looks so cute, vibrant, innocent, and pleasant. It just seems like the best movie one could see to escape the horrors that are happening in the world today, even if for just an hour and a half.
I know that sounds crazy but, when that movie came out, I was working at a movie theatre and I noticed a lot of adults without kids going to see it. In fact, it apparently skewed a 57% adult audience. Now I’m not saying there wouldn’t be some, maybe even a lot, of those adults that wouldn’t have watched the movie anyway in a less harsh political climate, all I’m saying is the political climate might’ve made it more appealing to people who might’ve never seen it in the first place if they didn’t want a bit of escapist fluff to get away from the harsh realities of the world we currently live in.
I mean, considering many action oriented, intense films that came out during last summer flopped, is it really that difficult to believe that might’ve been the case?