‘Despicable Me 4’ Enjoys Homecoming Welcome As It Makes French Premiere In Annecy

Illumination’s Despicable Me 4 received an ecstatic homecoming welcome as it made its French premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on Thursday.

The Annecy screening was arguably as special as its starry world premiere in New York on June 9 – with cast led by Steve Carell, Will Farrell and Kristen Wiig in attendance – but for different reasons.

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“This franchise has a long history with Annecy,” festival director Marcel Jean told the crowd gathered in Annecy’s 1,000-seat Bonlieu cinema theatre.

“All four episodes of the franchise have been screened at the festival in this theatre,” he continued to applause.

The cast were not present on Thursday, but director Chris Renaud and Patrick Delage took to the stage and more than 60 members of the Illumination crew were in the audience. This meant that for once, the audience stayed until the end of the credits.

“I’m actually here hoping I don’t get emotional,” said Renaud. “About 14 years ago my introduction to Annecy was premiering a film called Despicable Me. The reaction that Pierre Coffin and I got in this room is something I will never forget and something I carry with me to this day. It’s always a thrill to be able to share our movies with such huge fans of animation who really understand what a precious and wonderful art it truly is.”

Annecy’s Jean also thanked Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri for his loyalty to Annecy.

“He is one of the best friends we have,” he said.

Meledandri has not made the trip to Annecy this year but was feted with the festival’s Golden Ticket lifetime achievement award in 2023, in a ceremony at the Bonlieu in which Pharrell Williams made a surprise appearance.

A year later, Williams’ Despicable Me 4 track Double Life pumped into the Bonlieu as the film opened on Gru (Carrel) returning to his old school for villains on an Anti-Villain League  (AVL) operation that will put him on the wrong side of sworn enemy Maxime Le Mal (Ferrell).

When Le Mal escapes jail, Gru, wife Lucy Wilde (Wiig) and daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Madison Polan) as well as new family addition Gru Jr., are forced into hiding under new identities.

Faithful minions Ron, Phil and Ralph join them, while the rest of the minions are rounded up and sent to AVL headquarters for special ops training, which, of course, does not go to plan.

Despicable Me 4 opens July 3 in the U.S. and on July 10 in France.

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