Universal Pictures removed “Minions: The Rise of Gru” from the summer schedule on Thursday morning, making it one of the first July films to be rescheduled since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The studio did not announce a new release date at this time, and more movies are expected to be delayed over the next few weeks.

Kyle Balda returned to the franchise with co-directors Brad Ableson and Jonathan del Val for “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” The voice cast includes Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, and Danny Trejo. The cast also includes Russell Brand, Michelle Yeoh, and Julie Andrews as Gru’s maddeningly self-absorbed mom.

The official description reads, “In the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru is growing up in the suburbs. A fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, Gru hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them. Luckily, he gets some mayhem-making backup from his loyal followers, the Minions. Together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons and pull off their first missions. When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles, Gru interviews to become their newest member. It doesn’t go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. On the run, Gru will turn to an unlikely source for guidance, Wild Knuckles himself, and discover that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.”

The “Minions” and the “Despicable Me” franchises have been blockbusters for Universal Pictures in the past. The original “Despicable Me” hit theaters in 2010 and made $69M on its opening weekend before grossing over $543M worldwide. The first installment featured Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, and Julie Andrews in the voice cast.

The success of the film put “Despicable Me 2” in action, and in 2013 that movie had a $76M domestic debut before grossing $970M globally. The popularity of the Minion characters made them the marketing focus for the franchise, and the studio released “Minions” in 2015 with Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, and Pierre Coffin in the voice cast. The film was the first in the franchise to break the $1B mark and set a new record for the animation studio. Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, and Miranda Cosgrove voiced “Despicable Me 3” in 2017, and that film also made over $1B worldwide. To beat the current record, “Minions: The Rise of Gru” will be hoping to reach the $1.2B mark in theaters.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is the first July film to be removed from the schedule, but almost every film leading up to July has also been pulled. Disney recently delayed “Mulan” and “Black Widow,” along with the Twentieth Century Fox films “The New Mutants” and “The Woman in the Window.” You can keep track of all the closings and rescheduling as they are announced.

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