Universal Plans “Lorax”, “Despicable” Sequel

With “Despicable Me” scoring a bigger than expected $56.4 million opening over the weekend, Universal Pictures is moving full steam ahead on its family film venture Illumination Entertainment reports Deadline.

Talks are already underway for a sequel with Illumination head Chris Meledandri and writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. Two short films are also in the works featuring The Minions, the yellow thumb-shaped henchmen of the film’s main character, but their method of distribution has yet to be determined.

Also in development are a half dozen other projects with the previously announced “Hop”, starring Russell Brand as the Easter Bunny, next off the rank with an April 2011 release already set.

That will be followed by an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the Ricky Gervais-created “Flanimals”, Tim Burton’s new interpretation of “The Addams Family”, and a “Where’s Waldo” film. Further original ideas are also in the works with the label’s production slate to be ramped up to likely three films per year.

Paul and Daurio, who also penned the “Horton Hears A Who” film adaptation, will co-direct “The Lorax” along with “Despicable Me” co-director Chris Renaud.