September 5th at 2:30 pm, at the Sala Giardino in the Lido
La Biennale di Venezia will pay a Special Tribute to U.S. producer Chris Meledandri, the Academy Award®-nominated founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of the field of animated films.
Meledandri will be honored on Monday, September 5th 2016, at 2:30 pm, at the Sala Giardino in the Lido, during the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. In addition to receiving this prestigious tribute, Meledandri will participate in an exclusive festival “In Conversation” event, culminating in a presentation of footage from the forthcoming Illumination Entertainment movie SING (2017).
The tribute will begin with the Italian Public Premiere of Illumination Entertainment’s THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (2016) at the Sala Giardino on September 4th at 9:00 pm. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS opens in theaters in Italy on October 6, 2016.
Festival Director Alberto Barbera comments: “Chris Meledandri has revolutionized our way of understanding and making animated film with his more than excellent achievements, both in terms of quality and box office, thanks to careful and skilfully-targeted investments. Under his leadership, Illumination Entertainment has grown into one of the most dynamic and innovative creative hubs in the world of animation in a matter of years. This tribute from the Festival wishes to spotlight the artist’s extraordinary contribution, leading to worldwide hits such as Despicable Me and Minions, both of which changed our relationship with cartoons forever”.
Chris Meledandri, the Academy Award®-nominated founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, is responsible for the hugely successful Despicable Me, Ice Age and animated Dr. Seuss franchises, which have collectively grossed close to $6 billion worldwide. Meledandri has built Illumination Entertainment into one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of all-audience event films.
Illumination Entertainment, which has an exclusive financing and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures, is the creator of the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise, which includes Minions, the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time, as well as the Academy Award®-nominated film for Best Animated Feature Film Despicable Me 2. In all, Illumination Entertainment’s films, which also include Hop (2011) and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012), have grossed more than $3.5 billion in worldwide box-office revenues and feature some of the world’s most renowned talent.
Upcoming Illumination Entertainment films include Sing (2016), Despicable Me 3 (2017) and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2018).
Meledandri also oversees Illumination Entertainment’s creation of content for marketing campaigns, mobile platforms, consumer goods, social media and theme parks such as Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem in 3D at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, ensuring the same high level of quality he brings to his feature productions. The company’s first mobile game, “Despicable Me: Minion Rush,” has been downloaded more than 750 million times.
Prior to Illumination Entertainment, Meledandri was a senior executive at 20th Century Fox. He became the founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation, where he created original material with the birth of the Ice Age franchise and also shepherded existing brands into the feature space, including The Simpsons and the Dr. Seuss library (Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!).
Meledandri has received numerous awards for his work with Illumination Entertainment including the Producers Guild of America’s 2014 Visionary Award as well as being named to Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” list and by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “most powerful people in entertainment” on The THR 100 list.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – For their fifth fully-animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. The Secret Life of Pets opens in theaters October 6th 2016.
SING – Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist—okay, maybe a bit of a scoundrel—who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. In theaters January 26th 2017.