LOS ANGELES  - The cute babbling Minions who played supporting roles in 2010’s animated blockbuster “Despicable Me” take center stage in the sequel, a film tipped to rival the original’s stellar success.

In fact the little yellow men — voiced by the films’ French directors with a merry sprinkling of multi-lingual gibberish — have proved so popular that they are to get their own movie next year.

For now they have to share the limelight with villain-turned-doting-father Gru (voiced by Steve Carell, also in a jumbled-up accent) in “Despicable Me 2,” out in the United States for the July 4 national holiday. The first film three years ago, in which the dastardly Gru plotted to steal the moon but was won over by a trio of orphan girls in need of a father, made more than $540 million and became the 10th-biggest animated film in US history.