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Minions take over Amazon boxes in deal with Universal, Illumination

The #Minions of 'Despicable Me' -- already ubiquitous -- are appearing on some Amazon delivery boxes

The Minions of "Despicable Me" have already graced billboards, board games and kids' backpacks. And now the ubiquitous yellow cartoon characters -- known for speaking in gibberish and gleefully creating chaos -- are showing up on some of Amazon's delivery boxes. 

The e-commerce giant has teamed up with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment ahead of the July 10 release of "Minions," the prequel to the blockbuster "Despicable Me" film series.

Certain Amazon fulfillment centers have begun shipping customer orders in bright yellow, Minions-themed boxes. The packages come in an array of sizes used to deliver items such as books, DVDs, toys and sporting goods. 

The marketing deal, first conceived by Universal to boost sales of movie tickets and merchandise, marks the first time Amazon has allowed a full branded takeover of its boxes, according to executives.

Amazon has also unveiled an online storefront dedicated to Minions products.

The pact takes advantage of the growing popularity of the Minions, which have already spawned a Universal Studios theme park ride, video games and even a new Pantone paint color. At the box office, the first two "Despicable Me" movies grossed more than $1.5 billion combined worldwide. 

"It is a real testament to the artists behind the Minions that the characters continue to penetrate the culture in new ways," said Illumination founder and chief executive Chris Meledandri in a statement. 

The pact reflects the film industry's longtime interest in the consumer products business.

"Despicable Me" was one of the many brands that helped retail sales of entertainment products hit more than $50 billion in 2013 in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn. This year is sure to see a bevy of additional new products related to upcoming movies including "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."  

Amazon Media Group vice president Seth Dallaire, who oversees ad sales for the company, called the "Despicable Me" franchise a "favorite" among Amazon customers. 

"We’re thrilled ... to bring more Minions’ magic to the Amazon shopping experience, and for the opportunity to delight these fans through experiences both on our sites and – in many cases – in their homes via Minions-branded boxes," he said. 

"Minions" is an origin story and features the voice of Sandra Bullock as super-villain Scarlet Overkill. It also stars Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney and Steve Coogan. Universal has set "Despicable Me 3" for a summer release in 2017.  

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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