Christopher "Chris" Meledandri (born May 15, 1959) is an American film producer, and the founder (2007) and CEO of Illumination Entertainment. He is best known as the producer of the Despicable Me franchise.


Walt Disney Pictures

Before joining Fox, Meledandri was president of Dawn Steel Pictures at Walt Disney Pictures, where he served as an executive producer of Cool Runnings.

20th Century Fox Animation

During his tenure, he produced Ever After: A Cinderella Story and helped Fox become a major player in the world of animated feature films. In 1998 he led Fox's acquisition of fledgling visual effects/commercial house Blue Sky Studios, which he built into a successful producer of animated features. He oversaw the creative and business operations of Blue Sky, now Fox's wholly owned CGI studio. While at the studio, Meledandri supervised and/or executive produced movies including Ice AgeIce Age: The MeltdownRobotsAlvin and the ChipmunksThe Simpsons Movie and Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who![1] He also produced two animated shorts, Gone Nutty and No Time For Nuts, both were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Illumination Entertainment

Meledandri left his post as President of 20th Century Fox Animation in early 2007 and founded Illumination Entertainment, an all-audience film production company, co-owned by Universal Pictures, which fully finances and owns the films. In 2010 Illumination released its first film, Despicable Me, (which became very successful and was followed by Despicable Me 2 in 2013), and in 2011 Hop. Illumination released a film version of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which continued the successful collaboration between Meledandri and Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel's widow, Audrey.[3] He also produced the franchise spin-off featuring the Minions, Minions (2015).

Illumination and Dreamworks Animation

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced its intent to acquire competing studio DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion. Meledandri will oversee both Illumination and DreamWorks following the completion of the merger.

Personal Life

Meledandri was born in New York City. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He attended Dartmouth College and is a member of the board of trustees at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. He has two sons, who are 17–18 and 26–27 years old.


Year Title Notes 1986 Quicksilver associate producer
1989 Brothers in Arms producer
1990 Opportunity Knocks producer
1993 Fly by Night executive producer
Swing Kids executive producer
Cool Runnings executive producer
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit co-executive producer
1994 Trial by Jury producer
2002 Ice Age executive producer
2005 Robots executive producer
2006 Ice Age: The Meltdown executive producer
2008 Horton Hears a Who! executive producer
2010 Despicable Me producer
2011 Hop producer
2012 The Lorax producer
2013 Despicable Me 2 producer
2015 Minions[6] producer
2016 The Secret Life of Pets[7] producer
Sing producer
2017 Despicable Me 3 [8] producer
2018 How the Grinch Stole Christmas[9] producer
2019 The Secret Life of Pets 2[10] producer
TBA The Cat in the Hat[11] producer
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase[12] producer
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