“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is the sequel to the 2015 film, “Minions,” and spin-off/prequel to the main “Despicable Me” film series.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” won’t be coming to theaters until 2021.
On Wednesday, Universal and Illumination announced the animated feature, which has been unable to finish production due to the coronavirus outbreak, would debut on July 2, 2021, almost a year after it was initially expected to be released.
The fifth movie to star Gru and his quirky, yellow minions was being completed in Paris when French officials began to shutter shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities, asking its 67 million citizens to stay at home last month.
“The Rise of Gru” takes place not long after the end of 2015′s “Minions” and tells the story about 12-year-old Gru as he tries to make a name for himself as a villain. Gru ends up making an enemy of an elite group of supervillains known as The Vicious 6 after stealing something very precious from them, an amulet.
Moving “The Rise of Gru” to July 2, 2021 means that Universal has to move “Sing 2,” which was set to be released on that day, to Dec. 22, 2021. “Wicked” was previously set for the December date and has now been unset and will be redated at a later time, the company said.
Universal’s announcement comes just days after Sony said it had delayed most of its 2020 features to be released in 2021. “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Uncharted” and “Peter Rabbit 2″ have all found new release dates next year, as theaters in many countries have been shuttered and are expected to remain closed for at least the next two months, if not later into the summer.
Universal also pushed “F9,” its newest Fast and Furious film to 2021 in March.
These decisions underscore that studios are still committed to theatrical releases, even as consumers clamor for these films to come to on-demand platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the North American movie theater industry took in $15 billion in revenue, $11 billion of which came directly from ticket sales.
“I’ve been reading for years about a perception that there was going to be a switch towards home entertainment,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theaters, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” Tuesday. “I think if we learned anything in the last two weeks is people just so want to get out of their houses. I think we’re all feeling cooped up and want to get out and have life return to normal.”
So far, only two movies have decided to go straight to on-demand instead of going to theaters: Universal’s “Trolls World Tour” and Paramount Pictures’ “Lovebirds.” “Trolls World Tour” was originally going to be simultaneously released in theaters and at home before all theaters were shuttered in the U.S.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of CNBC and NBCUniversal.