Wednesday's announcement came as Universal continued to reshuffle its release calendar due to the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Universal has decided on a new release date for Illumination's delayed family animated tentpole Minions: The Rise of Gru — July 2, 2021, exactly a year after it was originally set to hit the big screen.
Wednesday's announcement was among several moves made by the studio as it continued to reshuffle its release calendar due to the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including unprecedented theater closures, and disruptions in the production and post-production process.
Illumination's Sing 2 — which was originally set to open on July 2, 2021, Gru's new home — is being pushed back to Dec, 22, 2021, which in turn leaves Wicked temporarily homeless for the time being.
When announcing last month that Minions: Rise of Gru would not meet its early July 2020 release date, Universal and Illumination said it would prove impossible to finish needed post work on the sequel since they were closing the Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris.
Delaying Sing 2's release provides cushion for Illumination and Universal, since no one is sure when moviegoing and production will return to business-as-usual.
Universal said Wicked — the long-gestating film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name — will be redated at a later time.
Universal Pictures is the latest studio to do some shuffling around with its release calendar amidst the madness, with several major releases being pushed back significantly. Minions: The Rise of Gru, which had already been shifted off of its current date this summer, has been pushed back a full year. Meanwhile, Sing 2 has also been delayed by six months and the studio's adaptation of the Broadway musical Wicked has been pushed back indefinitely.
After movie theaters all around the U.S. closed, joining theaters in China and almost every other country around the world, Universal moved Minions 2 from its July 2, 2020, date. The animated sequel will now open exactly a year later on July 2, 2021. This was expected to be one of the biggest hits of the summer, if not the entire year, with Disney not having nearly as many sure bets on the calendar as they did last year. Plus, the first Minions earned a staggering $1.15 billion at the global box office. This should be, or at least should have been, an easy $1 billion earner.
It's difficult to imagine, at this time, what the theatrical side of the movie business is going to look like a year from now, given everything that's going on. Sing 2, which also comes from the hit-making animation studio Illumination, was originally set to arrive on July 2, 2021. With Universal handing that date to Minions: The Rise of Gru, Sing 2 will now arrive on December 22, 2021. This, in a way, makes more sense, as the first Sing was released in December 2016 and went on to earn $634 million at the box office.
Unfortunately, this means the long-gestating Wicked movie will have to move back as well. The adaptation of the musical, which puts a different spin on The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches, was originally going to arrive on December 22, 2021. With Sing 2 now occupying that date, it will likely move to 2022. The studio hasn't handed out a new date at this time. With the situation rapidly evolving, they are probably going to wait and see what happens with some of their other major productions before getting too ahead of themselves here.
In recent weeks, many major releases that were scheduled for 2020 have been pushed back to much later this year or into 2021. Movies such as No Time to Die, F9, Wonder Woman 1984, Morbius, Peter Rabbit 2 and Ghostbusters: Afterlife have all secured later release dates. Meanwhile, others, including Mulan, Black Widow and A Quiet Place: Part II, just to name a few, will need to find new dates once the dust settles. This makes the prospects at the box office for the rest of the year, even when theaters do reopen, on very uncertain ground. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation continues to develop. This news was previously reported by Deadline.