The third installment of the Despicable Me franchise will make its world premiere at this year's Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival, set to run June 12-17, organizers announced Monday. In what has become a tradition, the Paris-based Illumination MacGuff will debut its latest Steve Carell- and Kristen Wiig-voiced comedy in a special event at the animation fest in the French Alps ahead of the pic's June 30 U.S. release.
The star-studded Animal Crackers, voiced by Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and Sylvester Stallone, will also premiere in competition ahead of its September release.
It will debut as one of the 10 films in competition, along with Tehran Taboo, which will compete in the Critics' Week sidebar in Cannes, and Jian Liu's Have a Nice Day, which was in official competition in Berlin.
Director Celine Sciamma, writer of the Oscar-nominated My Life as a Zucchini, Ernest & Celestine co-producer Stephan Roelants and Mohamed Beyoud, artistic director of the Meknes Animation Festival, will make up this year's jury.
Horror/comedy comic book adaptation Zombillenium, from directing duo Arthur De Pins and Alexis Ducord, will be the opening-night film, screening in competition.
Japanese animation makes a strong showing in the competition selections with three films: Masaaki Yuasa's Lu Over the Wall, Naoko Yamada's A Silent Voice and Sunao Katabuchi's In This Corner of the World.
Further competition titles include the U.K.'s Ethel and Ernest, voiced by Jim Broadbent and Vanessa Redgrave and directed by Roger Mainwood, and U.K.-Poland co-production Loving Vincent from directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman,
China's entry is Xuan Liang and Chun Zhang's Big Fish & Begonia, and China also will be featured as the country of honor with a special exhibit in a hillside castle in Annecy.
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales from Oscar-nominated Ernest & Celestine director Benjamin Renner will also debut ahead of its June 21 release.
Pixar's short Coco, due in the U.S. in November, will have a special presentation ahead of the Cars 3 screening, opening the same day as its U.S premiere.
Captain Underpants, starring Kevin Hart and Jordan Peele, will make its French premiere following its June 2 release in the U.S.
Netflix's Blame!, an adaptation from Tsutomu Nihei's beloved manga of the same name, will debut on SVOD in May but is set to have a big-screen special event in Annecy.
Oscar-nominated director Guillermo Del Toro attended Annecy for the first time last year to give a master class and has now signed on as the patron of the first MIFA Campus program geared towards students and young professionals and tied into the accompanying market. He will be the featured speaker and reflect on his career path.
Among the major executives set to give keynotes are Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson and Disney Television senior vp original programming/general director Eric Coleman.
Oscar-nominated directing duo Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski will also give a master class.
The festival will also add a VR section in partnership with Google, showing its Saturn Bars from a Gorillaz music video and Sundance winner Dear Angelica from Oculus Story Studio.