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Universal and Illumination Delay ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ Release

In response to the growing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the studios have postponed the scheduled July 3 release of their upcoming ‘Minions’ sequel.

Universal Pictures and Illumination have just postponed the upcoming release of their animated comedy-adventure, Minions: The Rise of Gru, amid the growing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The movie had a planned July 3 release in North America after opening in various overseas markets in late June. No future release dates have been announced.

In a just-released statement, Chris Meladandri, Illumination founder and CEO, 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.”

When we last experienced Minion hijinks on the big screen, back in 2015, no one would have guessed they were on their way to a $1.16 billion worldwide box office haul. In the new sequel, they journey back in time to the 1970s in the untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain.

The film features a new cast of stars, including, as members of the Vicious 6, Taraji P. Henson as leader Belle Bottom, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean Clawed, Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, Dolph Lundgren as Svengeance and Danny Trejo as Stronghold. The film also features Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, an aspiring mad scientist, Michelle Yeoh as Master Chow, an acupuncturist with mad Kung Fu skills, and Oscar winner Julie Andrews as Gru’s maddeningly self-absorbed mom.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is produced by Meledandri, and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3Minions), co-directed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets films), and features the iconic voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions and a ʼ70s soundtrack courtesy of legendary Grammy-winning music producer Jack Antonoff.

Source: NBCUniversal

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.