Minions: The Rise Of Gru Will Open The Annecy Animation Film Festival

There's no escaping those nonsense-babbling, oddball yellow hench-beings-turned wildly popular Facebook memes known as the Minions, with "Minions: The Rise of Gru" set to make its debut at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The animated movie from Illumination and Universal Pictures will kick off the event with a screening on June 13, 2022, in the Grande Salle de Bonlieu. "Rise of Gru" will hit Australian theaters a few days later on June 16, prior to rolling out stateside in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend a couple of weeks after that.

The practice of premiering "Minions" and "Despicable Me" movies at Annecy's annual animation festival dates back all the way to the first "Despicable Me" in 2010. "The Minions franchise is inextricably linked to Annecy," said Marcel Jean, the festival's artistic director, in a statement reported on by Variety, adding:

"As early as 2010, 'Despicable Me' made its mark at the event, and since then each film in the series has started its success here. Annecy's enthusiastic audience is the best there is to uproariously celebrate the return of this happy crew who is the symbol of success for Illumination."

Somehow Gru returned

Created in 1960, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival takes place in the town of Annecy, France, at the start of June and has been an annual event since 1998. After going online in 2020 due to the pandemic, Annecy returned as a hybrid in-person and virtual event in 2021, with Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen's animated documentary "Flee" taking home the top prize in the feature film category. "Flee" is now up for three Oscars at the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony, including the prize for Best Animated Feature Film.

As for "Minions: The Rise of Gru," the film acts as a sequel to the first "Minions" feature (itself a prequel-spinoff to the "Despicable Me" movies) and follows a 12-year-old Gru in the 1970s as he and the Minions aspire to join a team of super-villains known as the Vicious 6. Steve Carell is once again voicing Gru in the film, with "Minions" and "Despicable Me 3" director Kyle Balda calling the shots from a script credited to Brian Lynch ("Minions," "The Secret Life of Pets") and Matthew Fogel ("The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part"). On my end, I'm just relieved that those who actually love the Minions and can't get enough of their antics will finally get to see this movie after two years' worth of Covid-related delays.

"Minions: The Rise of Gru" will premiere in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2022.