Christopher Meledandri
Andrew H. Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
United States

Illumination Entertainment



One of the world’s most successful animation execs, Illumination founder and CEO Meledandri has had a storied career. The franchise maker struck gold partnering with Universal and Paris-based vfx company Mac Guff to make “Despicable Me,” which launched a “Minions” spinoff franchise. His films, which also include “Sing” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” have become merchandising bonanzas, with some earning prominent placements at Universal Studios theme parks. Illumination films have grossed more than $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office, led by “Minions” at $1.16 billion. Up next are November 2018’s “The Grinch,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular green guy; “The Secret Life of Pets 2” in July 2019; “Minions 2” in July 2020; and “Sing 2” in December 2020.


  • Walt Disney Company, The
  • Illumination Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox Animation


  • Dartmouth College (NH, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Illumination's Chris Meledandri Melds Together Cinematic Art and Cutting-Edge Technology

Illumination's Chris Meledandri Melds Together Cinematic Art and Cutting-Edge Technology

At the heart of every project from Illumination, which counts the highest-grossing global animated film franchise in its “Despicable Me” series among its roster, are what Academy Award-nominated founder and CEO Chris Meledandri describes as “characters and stories that live on in our audience’s lives long after they leave the theater.”To achieve that sort of lasting impression, Meledandri, who will be inducted into the Variety Home Entertainment & Digital Hall of Fame on Dec. 5, has brought together world-class creative...


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