Universal and Illumination have delayed the release “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the latest tentpole to get pushed back amid the coronavirus pandemic. The animated family film was scheduled to hit theaters July 3 and doesn’t have a new launch date.
Most movie theaters across the country have been shut down for an indefinite period of time to lower risk of exposure to the virus. Only AMC Theatres, the nation’s largest chain, indicated a time frame and suggested locations could be closed for six to 12 weeks. But “Minions” vacating its July release indicates that studios could expect closures to last through summer, one of the busiest times of year for moviegoing.
In this case, Illumination Animation had to shutter its studios in France because of the global health crisis, meaning “Minions: The Rise of Gru” wouldn’t be completed in time.
“In response to the severity of the situation in France, we are temporarily closing our Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris. With this decision we are abiding by the French Government’s guidelines and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the virus as we care for our artists and their families,” Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, said in a statement.
He continued, “This means we will be unable to finish ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ in time for our planned global releases in late June and early July. While we all grapple with the enormity of this crisis, we must put the safety and protection of our employees above all. We look forward to finding a new release date for the return of Gru and the Minions.”
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is Universal’s third major movie to get postponed amid the pandemic. “Fast & Furious” installment “F9” will now open in 2021, while “Trolls World Tour” will forgo a traditional theatrical release and debut on home entertainment on April 10, the same day it was supposed to open on the big screen.
Numerous other tentpoles — Disney’s “Black Widow,” “Mulan” and “The New Mutants,” as well as Paramount’s “A Quiet Place” sequel and MGM’s James Bond entry “No Time to Die” — have been delayed because of coronavirus concerns.