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Illumination Topper Chris Meledandri Tapped for CinemaCon Honor

Variety logo Variety 3/1/2017 Dave McNary
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Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, has been tapped for the CinemaCon Producer of the Year Award.

The award will be presented on March 30 at the closing night of Cinemacon at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Illumination — the production company behind “Minions,” “Sing,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” and the “Despicable Me” franchise — is owned by NBCUniversal. Its films have grossed more than $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office, led by “Minions” at $1.16 billion.

Illumination’s upcoming titles include “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and set for November of 2018; “The Secret Life of Pets 2” in July of 2019; “Minions 2” in July of 2020; and “Sing 2” in December of 2020.

“Chris and his team at Illumination have brought to life some of the most creative and whimsical worlds for audiences of all ages,” said managing director Mitch Neuhauser. “With its astonishing box-office success, his company continues to move animation forward with consistently wonderful films and we are thrilled to honor him with this year’s ‘CinemaCon Producer of the Year Award.”

“Despicable Me: Minion Rush” has become the fifth-most popular game ever and “Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem” is due to open soon at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Prior to launching Illumination in 2007, Meledandri was a senior executive at Fox, where he created the “Ice Age” franchise and shepherded “The Simpsons Movie” and the Dr. Seuss library.

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