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Despicable Me has knocked Shrek off as the highest grossing animated franchise of all time worldwide.

At present, the Despicable Me series has grossed $3.53 billion globally, pulling in $2b more than Shrek.

The number includes all three films as well as the Minions standalone movie in 2015.

In terms of merchandise, the franchise has generated roughly $70 million a year in consumer products since the first film, with some touting Minions the 'Mickey Mouse of Universal'.

The merchandise includes apparel, plush toys, and McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

The original film was 2010’s Despicable Me, directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. It introduced Gru, his three girls and the yellow-gibberish-speaking minions and earned $546m globally.

The sequel, Despicable Me 2, which was released in 2013 and was directed by Coffin and Renaud. It went on to become the second best animated film of the year, behind Disney's Frozen.

While Frozen won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature that year, the second Despicable Me film was a strong contender in the nomination list. This film earned around $976m, worldwide, according to Deadline.

Minions was the biggest animated film of 2016, while 2017's Despicable Me 3 has outdone the previous two films with worldwide takings of $879.5m.

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