Friday, June 9, 2017

Despicable Me: A Truly Despicable Box Office Success

Back in summer of 2010, the inaugural Despicable Me animated movie took the blockbuster season by storm. Not based on any fairy tales nor a sequel from a successful franchise, Despicable Me's original story with compelling characters and comedy appealing to both kids and adults held its ground against box office giants like Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After that same year. Raking in over USD543 million worldwide, Despicable Me screamed for a sequel spawning Universal Pictures' most profitable franchise.

Despicable Me (2010): $543 million.

That sequel simply titled Descpicable Me 2 released 3 years later in 2013 to satiate fans with a box office of over USD970 million. In between the 2 movies, Universal Studios Florida opened the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem theme park attraction in 2012. This attraction has since extended to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2014 and Japan in 2017. Perhaps Universal Studios Singapore would be next?

Despicable Me 2 (2013): $970 million.

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment recognised that their Minion characters were part of the success of the franchise. So in 2015 they released a Minions movie just for the lovable yellow creatures. This prequel surpassed expectations plundering almost USD1.16 billion worldwide, ranking it as the 2nd highest grossing animated movie of all time! Cumulatively the 3 movies have earned over USD2.67 billion with an average production budget of only USD73 million per movie. Do the math and that's over 12 times return on investment!

Minions (2015): $1.16 billion!

With that much profit that borders being despicable, we now come to the 3rd installment and 4th movie of the franchise, Despicable Me 3. Welcome back Gru and his lovable daughters, Margo, Edith and Agnes, plus of course the Minions aplenty. Steve Carell returns as the voice of Gru but also pull double duty this time as the voice of Dru, Gru's long-lost twin brother. "Oh brother" indeed!

Despicable Me 3 (2017): Care to guess the box office gross?

Official Synopsis:

Gru faces off against Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who has grown up to become obsessed with the character that he played in the '80s, and gets into some sibling rivalry when he meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist to steal the diamond that Bratt has stolen. Meanwhile, The Minions rebel against Gru and decide to return to villainy with their new leader, the Minion Mel.

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, the animated film is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud.

From what can be gleamed from the trailer, not much of Balthazar Bratt is shown at all. Instead it focuses on introducing Dru and forthcoming misadventures into villainy by the twin brothers.

As popular as the Minions are, they look to feature substantially in their own story revolting against Gru and spending time in prison as seen in this next trailer:

Introduction bad boy Minion Mel.

By the way, voices of ALL the Minions come from one-man, Pierre Coffin the director himself! Coffin is of French and Indonesian descent which explains why some of the Minions gibberish speech sounds like Indonesian / Malay in this scene from the 2015 movie:

The Minions language is also said to contain words from English, Greek, Spanish and Italian.

Given the track record of this franchise, Despicable Me 3 looks set to be another huge animation hit. There are no reviews out yet at time of this post but here are 5 reasons given by CinemaOnline.

This school holidays, MyTOWN Shopping Centre has teamed up with United International Pictures Malaysia to bring Gru and his Minions LIVE to Malaysian fans!

Meet Gru with Minions Kevin (left) and Stuart at MyTown Shopping Centre.

Gru together with Minions Kevin and Stuart will be conducting Meet & Greet with fans everyday at 1pm and 6pm until 12 June, with additional sessions on Fridays, weekends & public holidays at 4pm. Find them at the main atrium ground floor near entrances of Parkson and Uniqlo.

Other family-friendly activities are available during the day. Fans can get free Minion tattoos whilst shoppers spending a minimum of RM200 receive thematic nail art. Kids can also join the arts and craft workshops to create Minion goggles, pencil holders and toppers. There is also loot to be won from Despicable Family Games leading up to every Meet & Greet session.

Crafting Minion accessories. Photo credit:

Showing your love of Minions.
Kids colouring stations.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Find out when these fun activities are happening from the MyTOWN website scheduled until 12 June. So head on over this weekend for some despicable fun before school starts next week. It may even be the last chance to meet Gru and his Minions live before they head to their next adventure!

1 June has been designated Despicable Day and celebrated last week at MyTOWN in a special event for media and social media personalities. Here's a video of what happened:

Despicable Day at #MyTOWNKL
What a perfectly despicable day we had at #MyTOWNKL! Dance-offs’, Minion tattoo and nail parlours were just the beginning of the fun. Were you here that day? If you missed out on the fun, worry not, we’ve got you covered with plenty more fun-filled activities till 12 June. So bring your loved ones and come on over now, Compai! #DM3 #minions #DespicableMe3My
Posted by MyTOWN Shopping Centre on Sunday, 4 June 2017

Complimenting the Despicable Me activities are lots of merchandise to take home like toys, clothes or bedding products. Spend over RM200 here (and at other MyTOWN shops) to redeem a free limited edition Minion mini-squishy on top of free nail art.

Take home these squishy Minions when spending over RM200 at MyTOWN.

Check out these official merchandise which can easily exceed RM200 and help fund the next Minion movie:

Now the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) has been keeping our Tricorders scanning for other Despicable Me promos. Firstly, collectors of McDonald's Happy Meals should already have noticed the release of Despicable Me 3 toys since last week. 5 different sets of Despicable Me 3 figurines are available and being released weekly:

Stay happy when you get your Minion from a Happy Meal.

Meanwhile TGV Cinemas is offering the Despicable Me 3 Combo for RM28 comprising a regular popcorn and soft drink in a movie cup with figurine topper. 5 designs are available so completist collectors prepare to watch more movies at TGV Cinemas.

Over at MBO Cinemas, their Despicable Me 3 combos offers molded Minion 22oz cups with popcorn and limited edition Tic Tacs looking like Minions. Plus save RM2 when purchasing combos together with movie tickets.

Once Despicable Me 3 officially opens on 15 June, GSC Cinemas will be giving out Mini-Minion keychains with their Despicable Me 3 combo comprising 2 regular soft drinks and 1 large popcorn. There are 4 keychain designs to choose from featuring Minions that look like Kevin, Stuart, and Bob. Grab them fast as who knows which Minion is more popular

To get an earlier preview of the movie, United International Pictures Malaysia is offering Premiere Screening passes through contests on Facebook and Instagram; find out how to enter from their Note on Facebook. Also try your luck for contest by and To win some official Despicable Me 3 merchandise, join this contest by Nickelodeon Asia.

FREE stuff from Nickelodeon!

Disclaimer: Despicable Me, Minions and other trademarks are copyright to Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, referenced here for fan service engagements without intent to infringe.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Force is 40 brings together Largest Gathering of Star Wars Fan Clubs in Malaysia

This year Star Wars celebrated its 40th Anniversary since release of the first movie Episode IV A New Hope in 1977, launching a new era of science fiction adventure in the cinemas. All across the world, fans celebrated 4 decades of the franchise with the largest most prestigious convention taking place at Star Wars Celebration Orlando (SWCO) in April.

Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Not to be left out, Malaysian fans got together for our very own Star Wars Day 40th Anniversary Celebration at Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre from 15 to 21 May 2017. Whilst many Star Wars Day events around the world take place around 4 May, i.e. May the 4th, this celebration date is actually closer to the actual anniversary day of the movie release on 25 May, 1977.

Fans gather at the Blue Concourse for a Lightsaber Flash Mob on Saturday.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

This fan based event was indeed put together by fans for fans by 4 local fanboys: Julian, Ng, Daniel and James. As the Organising Committee, they worked tirelessly since last year to unite 20 fan communities to celebrate their love for Star Wars with the support of Disney / Lucasfilm, partner brands, and Sunway Pyramid, one of our country's premiere malls. These are the participating fans and communities:

Costuming Fan Groups:

Costumers from various fan clubs get together for photo ops.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.
Lightsaber Fan Groups:

Jedi Academy by Force Arts Stunt Team (FAST).
Photo credit: John Gullidge.
Star Wars Inspired Artists:

Artists showcase their Star Wars fan art.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.
Star Wars Inspired Fashion Designer:

Geek Pop Culture Community:

Outpost Productions with the fan clubs at the Blue Concourse.

Toys Collector Fan Groups:
15. Chancellor Peter (SW Vintage Collector)

Franchise brands like Hasbro, LEGO, Uniqlo, etc. at the Orange Concourse.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.
These are the franchise brands represented at the Orange Concourse showcasing and retailing their products throughout the week:
  • Hasbro
  • LEGO
  • Hot Wheels by Mattel
  • Funko Pop (by Sheldonet)
  • Royal Selangor
  • TGV
  • Uniqlo
  • Toys R Us
  • GL Design
  • UrbanTee
  • Hot Toys
  • Gamer's Hideout
Outpost Productions was glad to have been invited as one of the fan communities to represent Geek Pop Culture in Malaysia, of which Star Wars form a huge fan-base. We setup stall over the weekend of 20-21 May in the Blue Concourse showcasing Star Wars fandom at events from other parts of the world, and doing our small bit for charity. We offered a Hasbro AT-ST Walker toy and LEGO Micro-fighter on raffle with ticket sales donated to the Spastic Children's Association of Selangor & Federal Territory (SCASFT), the adopted charity for this event.

Our contribution for charity.

Winners of our charity raffle prizes: Tan Kok Hwee (left) and Andrew Mark Fernandez.
Over 2 days we collected RM211 from the raffle and doubled up this amount to donate RM422 to SCASFT. Collectively RM7,700 of cash donation was collected from activities of the various fan communities on the weekend. Together with other donation channels, over RM11,000 is being donated to SCASFT, excluding proceeds from the fan art paintings now being auctioned (more below).

Children from SCASFT pose with fans.

Here's coverage by the Malaysian Insight over the weekend:

Read-up more at their online article Celebrating 40 years of Star Wars.

One of the participation fan clubs, Star Wars Modellers Malaysia (SWMM) also put together their video of the event showcasing their fantastic scaled models on display as well as other fan activities:

Whilst we are unable to give every participating fan community their due (we were rather occupied ourselves), we do wish to highlight the very awesome Star Wars inspired Fashion Show by Venus Lim of Costurera Haberdashery on Sunday. 

The Blue Concourse packed for the Star Wars inspired Fashion Show on Sunday.

The 25 minute show showcased 14 outfits inspired from Star Wars plus 7 canon costumes in 3 chapters as well as a lightsaber duel performance by Force Arts Stunt Team (FAST). For those who missed out being there in person, here is video of this very unique Fashion Show:

Venus Lim of Costurera Haberdashery with her Star Wars inspired outfits modeled during Fashion Show.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Browse these Facebook photo albums for great shots by John Gullidge. His 6 photo albums from the whole week provide the most complete record of the whole event. Thank you John!

John Gullidge Star Wars Day photo albums: Blue Concourse 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Orange Concourse

Note: Most photos here credit to John Gullidge.

Our Outpost Commander Richard Chua facilitating discussion on the Fan Panels.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Outpost also put together a series of Fan Panels for the event offering fans the chance to share their personal stories and passion for Star Wars. Moderated by Outpost Commander Richard Chua, the four panels featured different facets of Star Wars fandom as follows:

Collectors Fan Panel (left to right): Richard (moderator), Oppie (SWMM), Sanjiv (SWMFC) Bryan (PVM), Chancellor Peter, Ng (LOM). Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Collectors Panel:
  • Oppie of Star Wars Modellers Malaysia: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a small band of model makers formed a group. It was designed for people with a passion for building and creating. A group where you can grow and share ideas, while creating your own style and form. A genuine passion for creativity and a meeting of the same mindset. The group is designed to help modelers develop and share their skills. A unique place to learn and perfect your craft. For those of you who love model making, whether it be scratch build or working from a kit, this group will provide great deal of input from fellow modelers, who have experience and talent in the art.
  • Sanjiv Indran of Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club (SWMFC): The club was established in December 2011 by a group of fanboys who shared a passion for that beloved galaxy far, far away. As a nonprofit organization registered with the Registrar of Societies Malaysia, SWMFC aims to promote the timeless space fantasy saga by uniting fans across the region, as well as organizing Star Wars themed events for its members and the general public. Community service is a hallmark of our society, and we strive to bring the joy and excitement of growing up with Star Wars to the next generation.
  • Bryan of Pop Vinyl Malaysia: A group formed to bring collectors of Funko products together, now 1.5 years old and reaching 600 members.
  • Peter Lai, a Vintage Star Wars Collector. Better known as “Chancellor Peter” in the International Vintage Star Wars collecting forums and Facebook Vintage Star Wars collecting Groups, he has been a lifelong collector since getting his first STAR WARS figure in the Christmas of 1979 and collected well into the Internet era. Evidently, a completist at heart as he has put on display the full range of Vehicles, Playsets, Creatures, Display Stands and Collectors Case released by KENNER PRODUCTS from 1977 to 1979, complete in their original STAR WARS packaging.
  • Ng of LEGO User Group of Malaysia (LOM): The group was incepted in 2013 by brick enthusiasts and has since become the fastest growing LEGO fan club in Malaysia with over 10,000 online members. LOM's vision is to share the love of LEGO to Malaysians and unite Adult Fans of LEGO. At Star Wars Day, their members have built scenes from Episodes I to VII including Rogue One.
Chancellor Peter's collection of vintage Star Wars toys from 1977-79.

Moderator Richard Chua (far left) with the Saber Masters (left to right): Tintoy Chuo, Alan Cheong, Jason Ngiam, Saber Dad / Vincent Wong. Photo credit: John Gullidge.
Lightsaber Panel:
  • Tintoy Chuo of Lightsaber League Malaysia (LLM): LLM is a gathering of like-minded individuals who admire the elegant weapon, from a more civilized age. Lightsaber fans from all over Malaysia to come together to talk, share, participate, and source stunt sabers.
  • Alan Cheong of AC Lightsabers (ACL) helps Star Wars fans purchase, modify, customise and upgrade their lightsabers. Alan himself literally hand crafts lightsabers right here in Malaysia and therefore can customise hilts to specific requests for unique designs tailor made for a fan.
  • Jason Ngaim of Sabertrio provides high-grade aluminimum hilt illuminated stunt lightsabers for Star Wars fans to duel like the movies. Sabertrio's sabers are made locally as to be much more affordable to Malaysian fans.
  • Vincent Wong, more commonly known as Saber Dad in the local lightsaber community, was one of the early adopters of LED saber technology. Armed with almost a decade of saber building knowledge, he does servicing, installations, conversion, and custom builds.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Artists Panel (left to right): Richard Chua (moderator), Dave Liew, Bone Alfie, Jon Tham, Michael Chuah, Tintoy Chuo. Photo credit: John Gullidge.
Artists Panel:
  • Dave Liew the co-founder of Fearless Ideas & Designs providing art direction while managing an impressive work flow with a tight turnaround for a wide range of clients. He is also a stalwart members of the 501st Legion and won best fan-made Star Wars social poster for the 2011 Japanese Tsunami Relief Effort.
Dave has littered his art piece with Easter eggs for fans.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

  • Bone Alfie is a full-time graffiti artist. With 16 years experience in the field, he does commission art for clients such as Petronas. His personal style tends to be distorted, deformed or monstrous versions of the subject matter.
Bone's distorted art style of a Stormtrooper.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

  • Jon Tham is a graphic designer who infuses manga art into his work, capable of drawing manga style portraits and caricatures, designing anime characters, conducting art classes and, on many occasions, raised funds for charity through his art. He experiments in colour pencil art and produced quite a number of fan art ranging from Star Wars, Batman and Transformers.
Jon's manga-influenced version of Force twins Luke & Leia.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

  • Michael Chuah is a Malaysian comic artist and well known designer. Over the years, he focuses on the development of comic art presentation and its contents, as well as its character and graphic designs. His comic, Gengkeyhad a line of vinyl toys and character design collection artbook GENGKEY 100 : The Character Guide. His other notable works are: Office Survival》、《KO Campus》、《Monster Chaos》、《Three Hours To Master》、《Horoscope Feverand many more. He contributed the Fan Key Art for this event collaterals. Thanks Michael!
Michael's comic edition of Darth Vader.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

  • Tintoy Chuo of Fusion Wayang Kulit. Founded by Tintoy & Take Huat, Fusion Wayang Kulit teams up with Mr.Pak Dain, the 13th accredited Tok Dalang ("Master Puppeteer") of the Kelantan Traditional Malay Shadow Play, to revive this dying traditional culture by merging it with fusion element & enhancing it with various multimedia components.
Tintoy with his art piece of the galaxy's most famous smugglers, Han Solo & Chewbacca. Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Each artist contributed a special Fan Art Drawing for the event to be auctions for charity with proceeds donated to SCASFT. The five pieces are exclusive fan art pieces are now up for silent auction starting from RM1,000 per piece. If interested to bid for them, please call Ms. Kimberley of SCASFT at 6016-225 9886 to submit your bid.

Art pieces (left to right) by Bone Alfie, Michael Chuah and Dave Liew are being auctioned for charity.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Our 40th Anniversary Fan Panel (left to right): Richard (moderator), Rafie, Nightress, Julian, Allen.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

The Force is 40 Fan Panel:
  • Rafie is a familar face in the local fan community, being the current President of the Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club (SWMFC). He revels in dabbling in both the Light and Dark Side of the Force, but committing to neither.
  • Nightress love for Star Wars comes from watching A New Hope but delved into costuming during the Prequel era. She is a member of the Rebel Legion inspired to recreate screen accurate costumes to support the fan community's charitable causes.
  • Julian Kong is the Force behind this Star Wars Day 40th Anniversary Celebration event. Please thank him and his comrades in arms, Ng, James & Daniel, for bringing us together.
  • Allen Yap is founder of Cosplay-FUN Malaysia (CFM) with the mission to help Cosplay in Malaysia gain more positive acceptance & exposure as well as present cosplay as a healthy interest / craft for all ages, races and creed. Allen is a Star Wars fan at heart and strives to be a Jedi Master.
Photo credit: John Gullidge.

Thank you again to everyone contributing their time for the passion of Star Wars.

May the Force be with You!

Disclaimer: Star Wars and other trademarks are copyright to Lucasfilm and/or Disney, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.