Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L), Illumination Entertainment and Thinkway Toys today announced that they will partner on the global production of toys based on the highly anticipated follow-up to Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s blockbuster hit Despicable Me. Thinkway Toys has been awarded the master global toy license for the motion-picture event Despicable Me 2, which arrives in theaters on July 3, 2013. The announcement was made by UP&L President, Stephanie Sperber, and Thinkway Toys CEO, Albert Chan.

The enormous success of Despicable Me, which grossed more than $543 million at theaters worldwide, made its sequel one of the most sought after properties in Hollywood. Despicable Me was released in July 2010 and went on to become the 10th-highest-grossing animated film in U.S. history and the second highest-grossing animated film of 2010.

The film has had a very successful run in the home entertainment markets, selling 13 million units worldwide since its home video offering in December 2010. Despicable Me also debuted on Video on Demand in January 2011 and has become the No. 1 most ordered animated film since that time. In summer 2012, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida will launch a 3D theme-park attraction based on Despicable Me.

Despicable Me rocketed its mischievous, scene-stealing Minions to the forefront of pop culture, and the popular characters naturally lend themselves to toys. Thinkway Toys will develop a wide variety of toys featuring the Minions and other key characters including interactive toys, figures, plush, dolls, playsets, vehicles, role play and novelty items.

“Gru and the Minions made Despicable Me a tent-pole franchise for Universal and we know Thinkway’s innovation, reputation and global reach make them the best partner for us to bring the Minions to life through toys,” said Sperber. “The Thinkway team is made up of creative, out of the box thinkers who will include technology that the consumer has never seen before.”

“Our team is ecstatic to create an all new line of toys for Despicable Me 2. The characters are endearing, filled with humor and adventure and we can’t wait to include these elements into the toy line,” said Albert Chan, CEO of Thinkway.

Products will be available on shelves in summer 2013.