Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride

Last week I attended the grand opening of the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. The new ride, which originally debut at Universal Orlando, features a bigger exterior and also includes a Super Silly Fun Land playground, based on the boardwalk pier where Gru  falls in love with the three girls he adopted in the movie Despicable Me. After the jump you can find photos I took from the event, giving you an early look at the new ride, playground and store, all of which are now open.

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Frozen - Duke of Weselton (Alan Tudyk)

One of Disney’s biggest hits in recent memory might be getting a ride sooner than later. Read about that and everything below in this edition of Theme Park Bits.

  • Disney might open a Frozen attraction at Norway in Epcot Center.
  • The Despicable Me attraction in Hollywood gets a release date.
  • Disneyland Paris competitor Futuroscope just got a fresh investment.
  • California Adventure has a Three Kings Day Celebration.
  • See the difference between Jurassic Park T-Rexes in Florida and California.
  • The Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Tokyo gets an upgrade.
  • Listen to audio of an old-school Disney Imagineer dishing secrets.

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Despicable Me

They look practically indistinguishable from one another and often blur together into one massive horde, but the Minions have emerged as the most recognizable characters to come out of the Despicable Me franchise. Even those who wouldn’t be able to pick the films’ ostensible protagonist Gru out of a lineup are familiar with the creatures, and they’ve even proven popular enough to inspire their own spinoff.

Much of their popularity comes from their distinctive look: they’re small, round, yellow, and abso-freakin’-lutely adorable. But they didn’t always look that way. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud revealed in a recent interview that in fact, these little guys started out looking less like cheese puffs and more like big ugly orcs. Hit the jump to learn how they evolved.

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‘Minions’ Spinoff Pushed From 2014 to 2015

Despicable Me 2

This year has been a tough one for animated films. The Croods, Epic, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, Turbo, and Planes all opened in the space of six months, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Free Birds, and Frozen are due out in the next several weeks. But so far at least, 2014 is shaping up to be a bit less crowded.

Earlier this week, Pixar announced that they were moving The Good Dinosaur from 2014 to 2015, leaving the company without a feature next year. Now Universal Studios is following suit, pushing their Minions spinoff from holiday 2014 to summer 2015. Get the details after the jump.

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Despicable Me 2 header

What the earlier Despicable Me 2 teaser trailers lacked in information, they made up for in cuteness. The puffy yellow minions were all over those, performing “Barbara Ann” and investigating otherworldly visitors. Now a full-length trailer has arrived, and while it’s not quite as adorable (that’s just what happens when you shift focus away from the minions), it tells us far more about what this movie actually is.

Steve Carell is back as the voice of supervillain Gru, who’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help defeat a powerful new baddie. Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand, and Ken Jeong also lend their voices. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud return as directors. Check out the new trailer and poster after the jump.

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While it was anyone’s guess who’d win the Super Bowl last night, the movie awards ceremonies this weekend were more predictable. Argo continued its steamroll through awards season, picking up a DGA award for Ben Affleck to go with the film’s earlier PGA, SAG, and Globes victories, while PGA winner Wreck-It Ralph took the top prize at the Annies.

Oscar favorites Searching for Sugar Man and Paperman also proved popular on the movie front, as did Jay RoachRian Johnson, and Lena Dunham in the small-screen world. Hit the jump to read the winners.

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Fake superheroes, spin-offs and Leonidas are all in this edition of Sequel Bits. After the jump read about the following:

  • Mark Millar is teasing some of the fights and costumes in Kick-Ass 2.
  • Universal has set a December 19, 2014 release date for a Despicable Me spin-off centered on the Minions.
  • See a high-res version of the Red 2 teaser poster.
  • Gerard Butler will not be returning for 300: The Battle of Artemisia.

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It’s still the middle of winter now, but it’s never too soon to start planning ahead for vacation time — and with Universal Orlando’s announcement of new and updated attractions to debut in 2012, the theme park is looking better than ever. After the jump, find details on such rides as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, as well as updates on the Blue Man Group show and more.

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