Animal characters are the stars in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

In Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets,” the real day for one bustling Manhattan apartment building starts after the humans leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine.

Meet the pets who populate this delightful, animated tale from the studio that brought audiences “Despicable Me” and “Minions.”

Max (Louis C.K.): A pampered Terrier mix, Max will need to find his courage before he can find his way home. He has an ideal relationship with his adopted owner, Katie…Until she brings home another rescue dog.

Duke (Eric Stonestreet): A giant, fluffy, unruly rescue who Katie saves from the pound, Duke is going to be part of Max and Katie’s family, whether Max likes it or not. Duke—who’s really a sweet dog that’s been through rough times—doesn’t understand Max’s rebuff and feels anxious that Max is trying to get rid of him.

Snowball (Kevin Hart): An adorable and deranged Bunny who’s building an army of “Flushed Pets” who have been abandoned by their owners, Snowball is insanely cute…and also, insane.

Buddy (Hannibal Buress): A sarcastic Dachshund, Buddy is the first to arrive, last to leave.

Pops (Dana Carvey): An old Basset Hound, Pops knows the city like the back of his wrinkled paw.

Mel (Bobby Moynihan): An optimistic, excitable Pug, Mel is a lady-killer on the inside, dopey pug on the outside.

Chloe (Lake Bell): A fat Cat, Chloe can’t be bothered unless you’ve got food. Although condescending, elegant fat cat Chloe has a heart of gold buried beneath all that fur and bravado.

Gidget (Jenny Slate): A naïve, but gutsy Pomeranian who is 50% fluff, 110% tough, Gidget is Max’s secret admirer. She looks like the quintessential dog from a pocketbook in Beverly Hills, but she turns out to be hard-driving, unyielding and quite heroic.

Sweetpea: A fearless Budgie, Sweetpea has two wings and no prayer.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Short film ‘Mower Minions’ plays in front of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Illumination Entertainment’s inaugural theatrical short, “Mower Minions”—a never-before-seen short film starring the Minions—will debut in front of “The Secret Life of Pets” when it arrives in Philippine theaters on August 24.

Correlating to the format in which “The Secret Life of Pets” is showing in specific theaters, “Mower Minions” will be available in both 3D and 2D.

The short film stars the iconic Minions, who first appeared in the blockbuster “Despicable Me” franchise and who most recently starred in 2015’s massive hit “Minions,” which grossed more than $1.15 billion at the global box office and became the second-biggest animated title of all time. Continuing the unpredictable journeys of Gru’s curious and subversively sweet band of yellow brothers, “Mower Minions” represents the first time ever that Illumination has released a short film theatrically.

Directed by Bruno Chauffard & Glenn McCoy, “Mower Minions” is produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy and written by Glenn McCoy and Dave Rosenbaum. The executive producer is Chris Renaud, and the cast is Pierre Coffin as the voice of the Minions, while Jody Gelb plays Barb and Ella and Dave Rosenbaum portrays Dave. Additional voices are provided by Eric Osmond and Chris Renaud, while the associate producers are Robert Taylor and Brett Hoffman. The music is by Michael Gatt, and it is edited by Gilad Carmel and Eric Osmond.

“It’s been a year since Minions appeared on movie screens, and will be another year until they show up in “Despicable Me 3” next summer. Fans are always asking us for more content with the Minions, so the timing felt right for them to star in an all-new short film right before audiences experience Illumination’s newest original film, `The Secret Life of Pets,’” said Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination. “The theatrical release of this short serves as an opportunity for some of the most talented storytellers, visual development artists, colorists and story artists in the Illumination family to flex their creative muscles and create a new piece of content for the big screen.”

Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not around? Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

For one bustling Manhattan apartment building, the real day starts after the folks on two legs leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine: hanging out with each other, trading humiliating stories about their owners, auditioning adorable looks to get better snacks and watching Animal Planet like it is reality TV.

The building’s top dog, Max (Louis C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s (Ellie Kemper) universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), who’s building an army of pets who’ve been abandoned by their owners and are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Kevin Hart breathes life to villain bunny in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Comic sensation Kevin Hart lends his voice to the bunny Snowball, in Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ new comedy adventure “The Secret Life of Pets,” opening in Philippine cinemas August 24.

An adorable and deranged Bunny who’s building an army of “Flushed Pets” who have been abandoned by their owners, Snowball is insanely cute… and also, insane.

In the film, Max (Louis C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball, whose army of pets are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Producer Chris Meledandri states that Illumination appreciates performers who can bring a bit of wickedness and slightly off-center vocal mannerisms to their roles: “Steve Carell did a fantastic job of that in `Despicable Me,’ and Kevin Hart does this with Snowball.”

Meledandri raves that Snowball is absolutely one of the wildest, most imaginative animated characters on any film he has ever seen. He agrees with his colleagues that so much of that energy comes from the man who vocalizes the wayward bunny. “This is Kevin Hart’s first voice for an animated movie,” Meledandri says. “He loves Snowball, and it comes through in the performance. He has a blast as the character, and that is so apparent because the performance is filled with joy. Snowball’s a rascal, so it’s hard to play a character who is somewhat wicked but is still so appealing every time he’s on screen, but Kevin embodies it. His voice for this fluffy, adorable bunny—who in a nanosecond can turn crazy—is phenomenal.”

“Both Kevin Hart and Snowball are forces of nature,” adds co-screenwriter Brian Lynch. “When you give Kevin a two-line joke, he is able to turn it into an eight-line joke that is so much funnier than the one you wrote.”

Hart’s recent movie projects include the action-comedy blockbuster Universal’s “Central Intelligence” opposite Dwayne Johnson, Screen Gems’ “The Wedding Ringer,” which also starred Josh Gad; and Warner Bros.’ “Get Hard” opposite Will Ferrell.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

From the humans behind ‘Despicable Me’ come ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

From Illumination Entertainment, one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of event animated films like “Despicable Me” and “Minions,” comes Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets,” the recent No.1 box-office hit in the US, and opening in Philippine cinemas Aug. 24. Watch the film’s new TV spot below.

“The inspiration behind ‘Pets’ was all of the pets that my family and I have owned since I was a little kid. We grew up with a cat and dogs and a bird, and what I realized as I became a parent was that we all invested these pets with rich emotional lives. Whenever we’d come home we would be thinking about the joy in their faces in seeing us and thinking about them doing things that were a little bit naughty. We realized we were asking exactly what they had done while we were out.”

“It struck me that I wasn’t alone in wondering about what the inner lives of our pets were,” he continues. “The minute I started to look at my own pets that way, I realized that everybody looks at their pets through that lens. Whether or not it’s a real emotional life or a projected one…it doesn’t matter. We’re fascinated with their inner lives and highly curious about what they’re doing and thinking when we’re not around.”

Working with the writing team of Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with whom he’s worked on the films in the “Despicable Me” franchise, Meledandri first asked them to develop this idea into a screenplay. They were then needed to start “Despicable Me 3,” and writer Brian Lynch—known for his work with Illumination on “Minions” took the helm.

Daurio explains how it all began: “The first thing that Chris pitched to us was the image of a dog watching his owner leave the house. As soon as the owner leaves, the dog dumps his food in the trash and opens the fridge to find something better to eat. That was the initial image that was planted in our head, and it stayed with us throughout this entire process.”

Paul describes what drives the process he shares with Daurio: “The key to an Illumination film is lots of laughs and lots of heart. We want people to laugh as much as they possibly can, but we also want to make them cry a bit at the end as well.”

As they pondered upon the setting, the duo was drawn to a New York apartment building. “Early on, we decided we wanted this story to take place in an apartment building,” Paul says. “That gave us access to a lot of pets and the idea that when the owners are away, they party. They gossip and drink out of the toilet; things they would never do if their owners were watching.”

This is Lynch’s third collaboration with Meledandri, and he appreciates Meledandri’s character-centric approach. “Chris always says, ‘We’ll come up with the story and the set pieces later. Let’s work on who our lead character is, what happened to him or her before and what we want the audience to know about them and feel about them. We will go from there,’” offers Lynch. “It has always been helpful to work that way.”

Lynch loved extrapolating upon these pets’ secret lives, revealing: “This film is a salute to how much all of us love our pets. No matter what they do in the movie, the new friends they meet or the death they defy, they still have to be back at the end of the day to see their owners come home. Even if they go on crazy adventures during the day, the highlight of every day is when their owner comes home.”

The moment that Max’s owner brings Duke home from the pound has a special inspiration of its own. Laughs Meledandri: “I imagine Max feels a bit like my nine-year-old son must have when my wife and I came home from the hospital with a new baby: ‘Where did this guy come from? Who asked him here? My life was fine before he arrived and, no, I don’t want to share everything that I’ve got that’s so perfect.’”

Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debuts as Max, Duke and Snowball in “The Secret Life of Pets,” which co-stars Jenny Slate as Gidget, Ellie Kemper as Katie, Lake Bell as Chloe, Dana Carvey as Pops, Hannibal Buress as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Steve Coogan as Ozone and Albert Brooks as Tiberius.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Discover ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ when you’re not home

Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not around?

For their fifth fully animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Comedy superstars Louis C.K. (TV’s “Louie”), Eric Stonestreet (TV’s “Modern Family”) and Kevin Hart (“Central Intelligence”) make their animated feature-film debuts as Max, Duke and Snowball in “The Secret Life of Pets,” which co-stars Jenny Slate (“Zootopia”) as Gidget, Ellie Kemper (“Bridesmaids”) as Katie, Lake Bell (TV’s “Children’s Hospital”) as Chloe, Dana Carvey (“First Impressions”) as Pops, Hannibal Buress (“Neighbors”) as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) as Mel, Steve Coogan (“Minions”) as Ozone and Albert Brooks (“Finding Dory”) as Tiberius.

For one bustling Manhattan apartment building, the real day starts after the folks on two legs leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine: hanging out with each other, trading humiliating stories about their owners, auditioning adorable looks to get better snacks and watching Animal Planet like it is reality TV.

The building’s top dog, Max (C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s (Kemper) universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball (Hart), who’s building an army of pets who’ve been abandoned by their owners and are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy—who together have produced the beloved films of the “Despicable Me” franchise, as well as the blockbusters “Minions” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”—produce the comedy that is directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘The Secret Life of Pets’ characters take a bow in own posters

From the studios that gave you “Despicable Me” and “Minions,” Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have unveiled new character posters for their upcoming animated film, “The Secret Life of Pets.”

The selection of cute character one-sheets reveal each of the pets, their names, and just a hint of their personalities.

For their fifth fully-animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debuts in “The Secret Life of Pets,” which co-stars Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress and Albert Brooks.

Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy produce the film directed by Chris Renaud (“Despicable Me”), co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Brian Lynch and Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: Holiday greetings from ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Universal Pictures’ “The Secret Life of Pets” has just released its Christmas-themed videos just in time for the holidays.

Watch and listen to the intelligent Pets as they are tricked by their humans in posing for Christmas portraits.

For their fifth fully-animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

“The Secret Life of Pets” opens August 2016 as distributed through Columbia Pictures. (PR)