Illumination Entertainment can now boast two franchises under its banner. The animation studio hit big with Despicable Me, spawning the highly successful Despicable Me 2 and Minions, and now the studio can firmly count The Secret Life of Pets as its second major franchise property. The talking animal-centric feature crossed $400 million worldwide at the box office today, having amassed an insane $300.3 million at the domestic box office alone after scoring the highest opening weekend for an original film ever. And Illumination is marking the occasion by officially announcing The Secret Life of Pets 2.
The studio will release the sequel on July 13, 2018, so fans won’t have to wait too long to see the continued adventures of the titular animals. The project currently has that weekend all to itself, but will open one week after Ant-Man and the Wasp and one week before Alita: Battle Angel.
Directed by Illumination stalwarts Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, The Secret Life of Pets revolves around the life of pets while their owners are at work, boasting an impressive voice cast that includes Louis C.K., Jenny Slate, and Eric Stonestreet. Unfortunately, the film also continues the tradition of somewhat lazy storytelling from the Illumination team, as the picture boasts an incredibly formulaic narrative, easy jokes, and a plot that resembles Toy Story a little too closely.
But audiences ate it up, and now we’ll probably be seeing Secret Life of Pets sequels every two years from here to eternity. Renaud will return to direct The Secret Life of Pets 2, which will also see the return of screenwriter Brian Lynch.
Up next on Illumination’s slate is the music competition-centric Sing, opening this December and helmed by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), as well as Despicable Me 3 and two more Dr. Seuss adaptations, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat.