Another day, another coronavirus-induced delay. Minions: The Rise of Gru — the sequel to the 2015 original that grossed over a billion dollars worldwide — has vacated its June-July release date and will be indefinitely delayed, Universal Pictures and its animation subsidiary, Illumination, announced Thursday in the US. That makes the Minions sequel the farthest film to be pushed, but it’s not because the studios expect to remain closed till July. Instead, in this case, Minions: The Rise of Gru had yet to be finished and now won’t be for a while as Paris-based Illumination Mac Guff has been shut down as part of France’s national lockdown to control the pandemic.
Illumination founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, said: “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. 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.”
For Universal, this is the fourth big movie to be pushed due to the coronavirus. The next James Bond entry, No Time to Die — distributed by Universal outside the US — was the first to vacate its April release date, pushed to November. Shortly after, the next Fast & Furious chapter, F9, was delayed nearly a year to April 2021. Then, earlier this week, Universal decided to make Trolls World Tour a day-and-date release in theatres and at home. The pandemic has deeply affected film releases, with Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Widow, Disney’s Mulan, John Krasinski-directed A Quiet Place Part II, and X-Men spin-off The New Mutants all pulled from schedule as well.