By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 2, 2012 at 3:25PM
You know you've made a successful family film if it gets its own theme park ride. Universal's Chris Meledandri, who headed the animation for hits "Despicable Me" and "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," today gets to see the opening of Universal Orlando's Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
Universal has struggled in the hit department in the past couple of years, let alone the hit-turned-ride department. Indeed, Universal parks have rented franchises such as Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter," Paramount's "Transformers" and Fox's "The Simpsons" as a means of keeping up with the properties that will lure families looking for fun. Thus Meledandri is "something of a corporate hero" at Universal for being the creative brain child behind "Despicable Me," which has proven popular enough to spawn both a sequel and a ride.
The next rung on the ladder? A land. John Lasseter has taken over twelve acres of Disney's California Adventure with a "Cars" fantasia, and James Cameron and Disney are working on an "Avatar" kingdom in Orlando.