Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud wrote a language for the gibberish the minions speak throughout the film. They called it "minion-ese". Each word the minions speak in the film translates into an actual word.
The bedtime story, "Sleepy Kittens" was made into a tie-in board book that can be purchased, although it does not include the pull out brush that was featured in the film.
Gru tells Miss Hattie, in Spanish, that her face is "como un burro." This means "like a donkey."
Will Arnett gained weight for the role of Mr. Perkins, because since he's playing a large, heavy-set man, he thought it would improve his voicework.
Throughout the movie, you can see Dr. Seuss' Lorax character imprinted on Margo's shirt, under her jacket.
The producers only wanted comedic improvisational actors in the cast, (for example, Steve Carell, Russell Brand, et cetera).
Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud did the voices of the minions which is why they sound French and English at the same time.
When Gru is seen entering the "Bank of Evil", the subtitle "Formerly Lehman Brothers" can be seen over the door.
Originally, the minions were supposed to be more like henchmen (human-like), but the studio didn't have the money for that. That's why they're all so short.
The film was animated in the French studio Mac Guff in Paris, and although a U.S. production, it was written and directed by Spaniards and Frenchmen, making Despicable Me (2010) a very cross-cultural production.
In the Gru family tree, you can see Gru's mother's name is Marlina, and his father's name is Robert.
Steve Carell describes Gru's accent as a cross between Ricardo Montalban and Bela Lugosi.
To make Elsie Fisher laugh during recordings, her dad would sometimes sneak up behind her and tickle her.
During the dance sequence, the DJ Minion is using a "Gru-ray Disc" player, with the same color and font style on the writing as a Blu-ray Disc player.
Gru's profile resembles an Emperor Penguin, which is appropriate, because the male Emperor Penguin is the one that cares for its young.
Gru's date of birth is 9-28-1960, as shown in the state adoption file on the computer. This makes him eight years old when the Apollo 11 moon landing happened (7-24-1969).
In the scene where Gru enters the bank, there is a board inside the reception counter which spells "we are always alert to all your needs" while the receptionist is shown as sleeping.
The name of the main protagonist, Gru, appears to be taken from the Russian Military Intelligence agency GRU. GRU is an acronym for Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye (roughly translates to Main Intelligent Department/Directorate), the foreign military intelligence directorate of the Russian Armed Forces. It is the largest Russian intelligence agency, six times larger than the SVR (formerly the KGB). This may hint at Gru's own origins.
The soda cup that the Carnival Barker is drinking from (red with a purple stripe at the top) is based on the ones used at Walt Disney World.
The girls undercharge Vector when they deliver his cookies. Based on the clipboard Margo is holding when they pay him the initial visit, the prices of each of the box of cookies is thus: Coconutties - six dollars, Choco Swirlies - six dollars, Minty Mints - six dollars. Vector ordered four Minty Mints, fifteen Coconutties, two Toffee Totes, and two Caramel Clumps. The Minty Mints and Coconutties alone would cost one hundred fourteen dollars, plus the cost of the Toffee Totes and Caramel Clumps, means that the girls charge of only fifty-two dollars, was way below what it should have been.
When Gru is telling the girls the rules and gives number three, he uses a hand gesture which is correct sign language for that number. Most people use other fingers, indicating Gru knows some sign language.
WILHELM SCREAM: When Gru's mother kicks the punching bag and the karate instructor goes flying.
Mr. Perkins' portrait hung on his office wall is based on Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' "Napoléon Bonaparte on his Imperial Throne".
One of the pictures hanging on the walls of Gru's house (it can be seen when the three girls first enter the house, next to the front door to the left), is a "Wanted" poster for the capture of Jesse James, a notorious Wild West gunman and bandit.
The look and body language of Gru bears more than a passing resemblance to British comic cartoon character Grimly Feendish.
Mr. Perkins, the boss at the Bank of Evil, has two tufts of pointy hair, possibly modeled on the "Pointy-Haired Boss" of Dilbert fame.
Super Silly Fun Land is a reference to Pacific Park in Santa Monica, California. Both are built on a pier, and feature roller coasters.
Vector is left-handed. You can see this when he is inside of his house playing the Nintendo Wii. He uses his left hand, hinting that he is left hand dominant.
A possible reason for the origin of Gru's name is that the French word "la grue" means a crane. Gru's legs are long and thin, and resemble those of a giant crane.
In Gru's lair, the NBC logo can be seen on the top of the Jumbotron. The newscast in the beginning is identified as MSNBC. Universal, NBC's parent company, is the studio who released this film.
Julie Andrews was chosen to voice Gru's mother because her image was completely at variance with the character. Andrews initially turned the part down until convinced otherwise.
When Gru first walks into his house after getting coffee in the very beginning of the movie, his TV is on. It appears to be an interview with Sia, which is weird because she didn't get popular until 2014.
Gru's date of birth is 9-28-1960, as shown in the state adoption file on the computer. But the information that the minions enter into the computer, says that Gru had received a Nobel prize in 1952.
The roller coaster, the girls and Gru ride at the amusement park, looks like the Sandworm from Beetlejuice (1988).
Kristen Wiig, voice of Lucy in Despicable Me 2 plays a small role in the first Despicable Me, who is the woman in charge of the girls while in the orphanage.
Gru's right-hand man is Dr. Nefario. The word "nefarious" means extremely wicked or villainous.
When the girls first get adopted by Gru, Edith says, "when we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought it would be more like Annie." This is ironic because Dana Gaier, who voices Edith, played the role of Annie in her school's 8th grade production of 'Annie.'
In the beginning, the model plane that the little boy (Justin) is holding is an F-16 Falcon.
The third Universal's computer-animated film, after The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008) and The Tale of Despereaux (2008).
As stated in Mike Reiss' book "Springfield Confidential", Reiss named some of the Minions after writers of The Simpsons (1989). Stuart is named after J. Stewart Burns, Kevin is named after Kevin Curran and Bob is named after Bob Bendetson.
Argentinian film Producer Axel Kuschevatzky dubbed Mr. Perkins for the Latin American Spanish speaking prints of the movie.
In the last scene, the DJ's table has the "Blu-ray Disk" logo on it, but it says "Gru-ray Disk".
The voice of the television character, heard at the beginning of the movie, is remarkably similar to that of Chris Pirillo, known as Lockergnome.
Will Arnett's fifth animated film after Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Ratatouille (2007), Horton Hears a Who (2008) and Monsters vs Aliens (2009).
When Gru is leaving with the girls the first time, each of the girls has their own luggage. When the young one is being carried out on his leg, no one is carrying her backpack. But she has it leaving his vehicle when they get to his home. Also, since the ship had already re-enlarged well before the minion, it is hard to see no one noticed.
Steve Carell's third animated film after Over the Hedge (2006) and Horton Hears a Who (2008).
The second animated film of 2010 to feature Kristen Wigg, Julie Andrews, and Charlie Bright respectively after How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Shrek Forever After (2010), and Toy Story 3 (2010).
The only film of the franchise until Minions: The Rise of Gru (2020) to not feature John Cygan as an additional voice.
As of 2018 this is Illumination Entertainment's only film to receive a video game adaptation for traditional video game consoles (not counting mobile games), the video game adaptation of this film was released on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo Ds.
The second Universal's animated film to be released in July, after Jetsons: The Movie (1990).
The voice acting debut for Jack McBrayer. Later he'd go onto voice Fix-it-Felix in the Wreck it Ralph films and Clumsy Smurf in Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).
When Vector is seen playing video games on the Wii, he holds the controller in his left hand, indicating that he is left-handed. This may be a subtle reference to his villainous nature, because another word describing left-handedness is the word "sinister".
The voice acting debut for Danny McBride. Later he'd go onto voice the Wolf Boss in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Orpheus in Hell and Back (2015), Bomb the Blackbird in the Angry Birds films, and Honey Mustard in Sausage Party (2016).
When the Minions go to the store to get the replacement toy, there is a scene in which the "baby" shakes up a bottle of soda, puts it in his mouth, hilarity ensues. On the shelf behind him, the labels on the bottles read, "POP (then in much smaller letters) soda," and the word "POP" is arranged to make the cheeky joke of creating the word "POOP." One can assume this must be intentional, as the word "pop," which is necessary for the joke, is used pretty exclusively in a small part of the upper Midwest.