Film is due out Dec. 19, 2014

Universal has dated its untitled Minions project, a “Despicable Me” spinoff centered on the Minion characters introduced in the 2010 film, for Dec. 19, 2014.

The 3D-CG comedy adventure will be Illumination Entertainment’s fifth motion picture in its partnership with U. Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy will produce, and Pierre Coffin will direct. Brian Lynch has written the screenplay for the pic. Kyle Balda is co-director, and Chris Renaud will serve as exec producer.

The untitled Minions project, the fifth animated feature for Illumination, marks the first year-end holiday entry for the toon shop. “Despicable Me” bowed during the summer, as will its sequel, which is slated for July 3; live action-toon hybrid “Hop” debuted around Easter 2011.

The Minion characters have been at the forefront of U’s marketing of the “Despicable Me” franchise. In fact, the little guys are solely featured in the teaser trailer for the “Despicable Me” sequel.

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