‘Minions’ and ‘Despicable Me’ Star Steve Carell Has no Plans to Stop Playing Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru gave star Steve Carell a box office win over the July 4 weekend. He didn’t understand the Minions before playing Gru in the first Despicable Me, but now they’re responsible for some of the most notable of Carell’s movies. The actor earned notoriety and almost certainly added financial security for the Minions and Despicable Me films, but that’s not why Carell has no plans to stop playing Gru.

'Minions: The Rise of Gru' star Steve Carell attends a hand and footprint ceremony to promote the movie in June 2022. Carell once said he 'has a real affection' for making the 'Minions' and 'Despicable Me' movies.
Steve Carell at a ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ event in 2022 | Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ won big at the box office

As the voice of Gru, Carell has known nothing but success. The three Despicable Me movies opened with $55 million or more, and the two Minions movies went way beyond that.

Carell’s latest outing as Gru won the July 4 box office weekend with $107 million over three days, per Box Office Mojo. It added another $18.1 million on July 4 to clear $125 million over the four-day weekend. The first spinoff from Despicable Me, 2015’s Minions, earned $115.7 million its first weekend.

Providing Gru’s voice has allowed a younger audience to enjoy Carell’s work. Minion-lovers should give a hat-tip to Carell’s kids, whose wild reactions to his voice proved to be the final seal of approval as he developed the character.

Some actors find relief when leaving behind a familiar role. Chris Evans became a star playing Captain America, but his exit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a bittersweet mix of emotions. If Carell has his way, he’ll star in Minions and Despicable Me movies until they force him to stop.

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Steve Carell “doesn’t really see a downside” to playing Gru in ‘Minions’ and ‘Despicable Me’ movies

Carell’s early movies hewed close to his comedy background, but they were mostly adult fare. Films such as Anchorman, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and Date Night, though hilarious, aren’t kid-friendly. 

Despicable Me hit theaters in 2010, and based on the box office hauls for those three films — $543.1 million, $970.7 million, and $1.03 billion worldwide, respectively, per Box Office Mojo — moviegoers loved everything about them. It turns out Carell loved everything about them, too, as he told Yahoo:

“I have a real affection for the whole thing, the group. It’s a family that makes these things. And it’s so much fun, it’s very collaborative, they’re a blast to make, and they’re funny to promote. It’s putting something sweet and kind and nice out into the world. I don’t really see a downside to it.”

Steve Carell describes what makes the Minions and Despicable Me movies so special

Carell earned an Oscar nomination for Foxcatcher and received praise for his work in The Big Short and Battle of the Sexes, but the Minions and Despicable Me movies seem to hold a special place in his heart.

Carell will play Gru at least one more time with ‘Despicable Me 4’

Minions: The Rise of Gru enjoyed a mammoth opening weekend, and Gru and his yellow henchmen will do it all again.

Carell, Kristen Wiig (Lucy), Steve Coogan (Silas Ramsbottom), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), and producer/voice of the Minions Pierre Coffin return for Despicable Me 4. Other voice talents, such as Dana Gaier (Edith) and Nev Scharrel (Agnes), could also return. 

Despicable Me 4 will tentatively hit theaters on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, which would give the movie a five-day opening weekend to help its box office haul. 

With the fourth movie, the Despicable Me franchise will join Toy Story, Shrek, Ice Age, and Hotel Transylvania as the only animated series with four theatrical releases, per IMDb.

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