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Universal, Illumination Move their ‘Minions’ to Summer 2015

The date shift will enable Universal to exploit the 'Minions' standalone movie with a stronger consumer products program

After scoring with “Despicable Me 2” this summer, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment will release a spin off movie starring the franchise’s yellow Minions to July 10, 2015. The film had originally been dated for a Dec. 19, 2014 release.

The new date will enable Universal to fully exploit the film as a summer tentpole that lends itself to a vast consumer products program, games and theme park promotions.

Toys tied to the characters in “Despicable Me 2” sold better than expected, with product, including a banana-scented fart blaster selling out at many stores.

The Minions also had their own blimp floating around the country.

“Minions” will have the new weekend to itself, with Fox’s “Independence Day” sequel out July 3, and Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel” sequel bowing July 17. Sony has “The Smurfs 3” on July 24, Disney and Marvel release “Ant-Man” later that month, on July 31, while the next “Terminator” kicks off the month on July 1.

“Despicable Me 2” earned nearly $841 million worldwide, becoming the year’s second-highest grossing pic so far behind Disney and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” which earned $1.2 billion.

In addition to the “Minions” move, Universal and Illumination also have moved an untitled project from July 3, 2015 to Feb. 12, 2016.

“Minions” will feature the voices of Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm.

Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy are producing the 3D CG-animated comedy, that Pierre Coffin is directing with Kyle Balda from a script by Brian Lynch. Chris Renaud serves as executive producer of the film.

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