UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L), Illumination Entertainment and Thinkway Toys today announced that they will partner on the global production of toys based on the highly anticipated follow-up to Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's blockbuster hit Despicable Me. Thinkway Toys has been awarded the master global toy license for the motion-picture event Despicable Me 2, which arrives in theaters on July 3, 2013. The announcement was made by UP&L President, Stephanie Sperber, and Thinkway Toys CEO, Albert Chan.
The enormous success of Despicable Me, which grossed more than $543 million at theaters worldwide, made its sequel one of the most sought after properties in Hollywood. Despicable Me was released in July 2010 and went on to become the 10th-highest-grossing animated film in U.S. history and the second highest-grossing animated film of 2010.
The film has had a very successful run in the home entertainment markets, selling 13 million units worldwide since its home video offering in December 2010. Despicable Me also debuted on Video on Demand in January 2011 and has become the No. 1 most ordered animated film since that time. In summer 2012, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida will launch a 3D theme-park attraction based on Despicable Me.
Despicable Me rocketed its mischievous, scene-stealing Minions to the forefront of pop culture, and the popular characters naturally lend themselves to toys. Thinkway Toys will develop a wide variety of toys featuring the Minions and other key characters including interactive toys, figures, plush, dolls, playsets, vehicles, role play and novelty items.
"Gru and the Minions made Despicable Me a tent-pole franchise for Universal and we know Thinkway's innovation, reputation and global reach make them the best partner for us to bring the Minions to life through toys," said Sperber. "The Thinkway team is made up of creative, out of the box thinkers who will include technology that the consumer has never seen before."
"Our team is ecstatic to create an all new line of toys for Despicable Me 2. The characters are endearing, filled with humor and adventure and we can't wait to include these elements into the toy line," said Albert Chan, CEO of Thinkway.
Products will be available on shelves in summer 2013.
About Universal Partnerships & Licensing
UP&L oversees Universal's consumer product licensing, film and home entertainment promotions, and all corporate alliances for Universal's theatrical, home entertainment, theme parks and stage productions. This dedicated division is also responsible for monetizing the Studio's vast library of films and characters through licensing, branding and marketing opportunities. UP&L is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.
About Thinkway Toys
Thinkway Toys is a global toy company that designs and develops products in-house sold to retailers and distributors worldwide. Incorporated in 1984, the company is recognized as an industry leader with innovative electronic, interactive and animatronic products with a reputation for high quality toys.
Thinkway has offices in Canada, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and is held privately, solely by its founder, Albert Chan who also serves and CEO and President and remains the driving force behind the creativity and innovation from the company.
SOURCE Universal Partnerships & Licensing