As Chris Meledandri gears up for the release of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” he is simultaneously immersed in numerous other projects within his animation kingdom. Not only is he focusing on sequels for successful franchises like “Sing,” “Despicable Me,” and “Secret Life of Pets,” but he’s also concentrating on original films like “Migration.” Additionally, Meledandri is a creative collaborator for DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek” series, with plans to reunite the original voice cast for “Shrek 5.”
In a recent interview with Variety, Meledandri expressed his intention to preserve the essence of these beloved franchises while introducing fresh narratives and characters that transport viewers to uncharted territories. He shared that discussions with the original “Shrek” voice cast are ongoing, and the actors are eager to reprise their roles.
Apart from “Shrek 5,” Meledandri offered a glimpse into other animated endeavors underway at Illumination. He mentioned that the studio is crafting a few scripts set in “The Secret Life of Pets” universe, with one plot focused on a main character from the initial two movies and featuring new characters, while another centers on the ensemble. He is also thoroughly engaged in the development of “Sing 3,” which retains the original cast but ventures into a novel world.
Despite “Sing 2” grossing over $400 million at the box office, its ticket sales were affected by the concurrent release of the omicron COVID variant. Nevertheless, Meledandri disclosed that the sequel became a streaming sensation with over 80 million Netflix streams.
Regarding “Migration,” Meledandri praised the film’s unique visual style, setting it apart from other Illumination productions. The plot follows a duck family divided by their desires, with the father preferring the security of their pond and the mother yearning for adventure.
In addition to films, Illumination is partnering with Pierre Coffin, the writer and director of the “Despicable Me” series, on two short series premiering on TikTok in May before transitioning to YouTube. Set in the world of Minions, “Who’s Who” will be accompanied by the original narrative, “Bones Story.”
Meledandri emphasizes the importance of crafting genuine stories that reflect our identities. He is excited to work on multiple projects simultaneously, striving to transport viewers into unexplored realms while honoring the foundational aspects that made these franchises so cherished.