Move over, Shrek, there's a new king of the animation box office: The "Despicable Me" franchise -- which also includes the "Minions" movie -- has officially dethroned the green ogre to become the highest-grossing series of animated films of all time.
"Despicable" claimed its crown thanks to the impressive recent haul of the threequel "Despicable Me 3," which bowed back in June and has so far raked in a whopping $880 million worldwide. Adding that impressive number to the series's total earnings so far leaves the franchise's four flicks -- 2010's "Despicable Me," 2013's "Despicable Me 2," 2015 spinoff "Minions," and "Despicable Me 3" -- with a jaw-dropping cumulative sum of $3.528 billion in ticket sales, just edging out the "Shrek" series's total of $3.51 billion.
That success is thanks largely in part to the insane popularity of the Minions, both the movie and the characters themselves. The ubiquitous little yellow guys, who first popped up as the sidekicks to Steve Carell's Gru in "Despicable Me," spawned their own spinoff series ("Minions 2" is due out in 2020), and can be found plastered on pretty much every consumer product you can think of (clothes, toys, videos, school supplies, even Nutella). Deadline reports that "Minions" is now "the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time and the most profitable movie in Universal's history."
"Despicable Me 3" is still earning solid numbers at the worldwide box office, and this total will likely rise. While a fourth "DM" flick doesn't have an official green light just yet, it seems like a safe bet that the series will go on, especially if Universal can keep converting cute yellow creatures into box office gold.