Minions had its premiere on June 11, 2015, in Leicester Square, London, and went into general release in the United States on July 10, 2015. Critical response was mixed: some critics praised the comedic aspects of the film and the performances of Bullock and Hamm, while also felt that the title characters were not able to carry the film on their own, and that the villains were flatly characterized. The film has grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide (outgrossing each of the Despicable Me films), making it the 11th highest-grossing film of all time, the 2nd highest-grossing animated film, and the highest-grossing non-Disney animated film.
Minions are small, yellow creatures who have existed since the beginning of time, evolving from single-celled organisms into beings who exist only to serve history's most despicable masters. After serving a great many masters over the centuries (though they accidentally kill their masters most of the time), and a disastrous end to their service to Napoleon, the Minions are driven into isolation and decide to start a new life in a massive cave in the Arctic. After many years, the Minions become depressed, restless and unmotivated without a master to serve. To regain their dignity and sense of purpose, Kevin, one fearless Minion, decides to set out to find a new master and asks for help. Stuart, a musically inclined Minion and Bob, a young and inexperienced but enthusiastic Minion, are recruited.
The trio journey to New York where the year is 1968. After spending the day attempting to blend in, the Minions end up in a department store for the night, where they discover a hidden commercial broadcast for villains advertising Villain-Con; a convention for villains and supervillains in Orlando. The trio manage to hitchhike a ride with a family of villains called the Nelsons and impress them with their accidental villainy. Once at the convention, they see Scarlet Overkill, the first female supervillain, and they impress her enough for her to hire them. As Scarlet takes the Minions to her home in England, Kevin contacts the other Minions, who later find a yeti and claim him as their new boss, but accidentally kill the leader yeti and are chased out of their cave by the other yeti. They make their way to England to find Kevin, Bob, and Stuart.
At her home, Scarlet explains the plan to steal the Imperial State Crown from Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and promises to reward the Minions if they successfully steal it, threatening that she will kill them if they don't. Her husband Herb supplies them with inventions to aid in the heist, but they are nearly caught when they break into the Tower of London, which leads to a highly publicized chase that ends with Bob crashing into the Sword in the Stone and pulling it free, removing Elizabeth II from the throne and becoming King Bob of the United Kingdom. Enraged by this, Scarlet confronts the Minions, and Bob abdicates in her favor. Undeterred because she feels betrayed, Scarlet imprisons the three in a dungeon to be tortured by Herb before her coronation, but afterwards, they are left alone and escape with the intention to apologize to Scarlet.
Making their way to Westminster Abbey, the three of them interrupt the coronation by accidentally dropping a chandelier on Scarlet, who immediately orders their execution. Dozens of villains chase them and Bob and Stuart are caught while Kevin finds his way into a pub. He sees Scarlet on a television, promising that she will kill Stuart and Bob if Kevin doesn't show up by dawn. Kevin sneaks into Scarlet's home to steal weapons, but inadvertently triggers a machine Herb was building and enlarges himself. He tramples through London, rescuing his friends just as the other Minions reunite with them. Scarlet tries to eradicate them, but Kevin swallows a massive missile she fires at them. Scarlet and Herb attempt to escape with her rocket-dress, but Kevin holds onto it. The missile detonates, apparently killing Kevin and the Overkills. After the Minions briefly mourn him, Kevin reappears, having returned to his normal size.
Queen Elizabeth II receives her place on the throne and crown back and rewards Bob with a tiny crown for his teddy bear and Stuart an electric guitar (later replaced by a snow globe after an over-enthusiastic Stuart breaks the guitar), and she knights Kevin for his heroism. She suddenly realizes that her crown is missing, and Kevin leads a chase after Scarlet and Herb, who are revealed to be alive and are fleeing through the crowd with the bejeweled crown until they are suddenly frozen in place by a young Gru, who steals the crown from them and takes off in a rocket-powered motorbike while the Minions stare in awe. Bob gives his crown to the frozen Scarlet, as the Minions see Gru as their new potential master and give chase to follow him home.
- Pierre Coffin as Kevin, Stuart, Bob and the Minions
- Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill, an ambitious female supervillain.
- Jon Hamm as Herb Overkill, an inventor and Scarlet's husband
- Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson
- Allison Janney as Madge Nelson
- Steve Coogan as Professor Flux and a tower guard
- Jennifer Saunders as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
- Geoffrey Rush as the narrator
- Katy Mixon as Tina Nelson
- Steve Carell as young Felonious Gru, a future supervillain and the Minions' master in the Despicable Me films
- Hiroyuki Sanada as Dumo the Sumo, a sumo wrestler villain.
- Michael Beattie as Walter Nelson Jr. and a Villain-Con announcer
In July 2012, Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment announced that the Minions from Despicable Me would get their own spin-off film, then planned for a 2014 release. Brian Lynch, previously known for co-writing another Illumination film, Hop (2011), as well as DreamWorks' Puss in Boots (2011), was asked to write the film's screenplay, due to his prior work writing for the theme park ride Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
On August 21, 2012, it was announced that the film would be released on December 19, 2014. In February 2013, Sandra Bullock joined the cast to voice Scarlet Overkill, with Jon Hamm joining two months later as her husband Herb Overkill. On September 20, 2013, the film's release date was pushed back from December 19, 2014, to July 10, 2015, due to Universal's satisfaction with the successful July 2013 release of Despicable Me 2 and desire to exploit fully the merchandising potential of a summer film.