On Tuesday, the day that The Secret Life of Pets crossed the $300 million mark at the U.S. box office, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures announced that they would create a sequel to the film.
The release date of the sequel is currently scheduled for July 13, 2018. Chris Renaud will return to direct the film, and Brian Lynch, one of three writers on the first film, will write the sequel.
The current worldwide total for Pets is $406.7 million, but that total will go much higher as the film has yet to be released in many countries.
The announcement marks an important step for Illumination, which to date, had had only one franchise—Despicable Me, which also spawned the Minions spin-off. While Illumination operates differently from Dreamworks, its desire to build franchises is similar. It took Dreamworks Animation seven years and 10 films to find its second franchise, Madagascar. Illumination found its second franchise in just six years and six films.
What’s perhaps most interesting is that Illumination intends to release the Pets sequel just two years from now, a very short schedule unless they’d already been working on a sequel prior to the original film’s release. It remains to be seen if they can meet this faster-than-usual production schedule. Illumination’s sequel to Despicable Me took three years; Dreamworks also spent three years apiece making the first sequels to Shrek and Madagascar, while Blue Sky took four years to release the first sequel to Ice Age.