AceShowbiz - The summer launch of the new "Minions" sequel has been ditched as the global coronavirus pandemic forces producers to close its animation studios in France.
Bosses at Universal Pictures and Illumination Animation have been forced to put "Minions: The Rise of Gru" on hold after Illumination's French base was shuttered due to the national lockdown - and now the Steve Carell movie will no longer be finished in time.
Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, shares in a statement, "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," he continues.
"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."
The animated film, part of the "Despicable Me" franchise, is the latest big Universal project to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis. "F9", the ninth instalment of the "Fast and Furious" movie series, has been bumped to 2021, while "Trolls World Tour" is being rolled out on home entertainment services on April 10, the same day as its previously scheduled big screen release, as the COVID-19 chaos forces the shuttering of movie theatres and other public places around the world.