Feature Film

Illumination Unveils First Look at ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

What do our dogs, cats, and birds do when we leave home to lead our individual lives? The new trailer for Illumination and Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets, arriving July 2016, has a few funny ideas.

Some are predictable, like the overstuffed cat raiding the fridge and chowing down a whole chicken and half a cake. Or the dog happily licking his crotch, and then sliding butt-first around the carpet. Others are a bit more clever, like the bird who turns on the game console and the apartment fan to play a flying simulation without pesky humans getting in the way.

But predictable or unexpected, The Secret Life of Pets’s trailer makes no bones about its aim to launch an arsenal of non-stop animal gags at audiences trained to wonder what happens to their toys, cars, planes, and other objects of affection while they are away.

It’s a tried-and-true formula that should well serve co-directors Chris Renaud (co-director of Illumination’s Despicable Me series and The Lorax) and Yarrow Cheney (production designer on those same films). For good measure, the writers — Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio — are the writers of the Despicable Me/Minions franchise. They will be helped out by an all-star cast, including Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, and Eric Stonestreet, who are making their animated feature debuts, as well as Albert Brooks, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan, and Jenny Slate.

The Secret Life of Pets marks Illumination’s fifth animated collaboration with Universal, and its sixth animated project overall. The studio’s next film, the Despicable Me spinoff Minions, infiltrates theaters next month.