‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ Pulled From Release

Now, this is actually a shocker – let’s study the consequences.


Minions: The Rise of Gru was set for a July 3 release is getting pulled from release schedule by Universal, which marks the farthest release to get removed due to coronavirus concerns. However, as Variety is reporting, this is not a move of fear by the studio, but rather a result Illumination Studios shutting down in France following the Government’s advice, which would cause the movie to not get finished in time.


However, even though the reasoning behind this move might be a bit different than, let’s say, Disney pulling Mulan from its release date, I think this does not paint a hopeful picture for the summer movie season, and I strongly believe this will not be the last movie opening between June and September to get delayed. With Black Widow and Fast 9 having being delayed, here are the big tentpole movies of the summer: Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5), Soul (June 19), Top Gun: Maverick (June 24), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (July 10), Tenet (July 17), Jungle Cruise (July 24), Morbius (July 31), The King’s Man (September 18). We are excluding medium/kind of big releases like Bill & Ted 3, Free Guy or The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard for this argument, but keep in mind they are there.


I am 100% convinced WB will move WW1984, especially after Universal moving F9, which was supposed to be released only two weeks before. The virus is far from slowing down in the US, and the theaters shutting down will probably be extended several more weeks, unfortunately (all our best wishes to the smaller multiplexes, which will be the ones that suffer the most). And so, even though by June 5 the theaters might be already open, which we don’t know yet, the studio probably expects that fear is still present among the moviegoers, which could scare away a big chunk of the tentpole’s potential audience. So this one’s gone.


An argument I didn’t make for the delay of WW1984 was the same argument why Minions was delayed, which is international VFX companies working day and night for the big blockbusters being temporarily shut down. Now, this really depends on each country in which the VFX studios are located in, but in any case, they probably are working at a slower pace with this pandemic sending home big gatherings of people. This may or may not affect Wonder Woman, as maybe the visual effects are mostly done and they may be polishing the sound design and putting the final touches on the editing, but I believe it might affect Soul and the rest of big releases after that.


I am actually starting to doubt that we will see any of the current June releases come out that month, especially Soul, because if the virus is still somewhat present in our society, entire families going to see Pixar’s latest will do nothing but represent a new peak in infections. And maybe there is a case to be made for both Top Gun and Ghostbusters. As of today, I do not think Tenet will be delayed, but I must admit, that is probably because I don’t want it to be, rather than me making a rational argument for this case. This might be my most anticipated movie for the rest of the year (maybe with Fincher’s Mank and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which by the way, I can’t believe that probably my three favorite filmmakers working today are having a new movie coming out this year, how awesome is that?!), and I really do want it to come out during summer movie season, which worked great three years ago for Dunkirk.


However, here’s the dilemma – with Black Widow, F9 and Minions not coming out this summer, how many more movies do we need getting delayed before we call this summer movie season as non-existing? Let’s assume that Wonder Woman 1984 is also getting delayed (which would mark its second time, by the way, and let’s hope this new delay is not as big as the last one) and also Soul. That would leave us a summer with no superheroes (but one supervillain in Morbius, true) and no high-profile kid’s movies. I think that would definitely give us a dead movie season, especially if at least one of the big tentpoles is real bad.


Now, regarding when would these movies come out, I have been saying for years now, and even kicking my head against the wall for this, that studios need to look into releasing big franchise movies in August. Right now, in August, there are no huge releases. The only two kind of big releases would be The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which we haven’t heard anything about yet, and Bill & Ted 3, which also has no marketing yet. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t come out in time, because they will probably start their marketing campaigns within the next 2 months, if they actually plan on hitting those release dates. However, here’s the thing – The Hitman’s Bodyguard made $20 million opening weekend back in 2017, and I highly doubt Bill & Ted will make more than $25 million. You put Wonder Woman 1984 one week before Bill & Ted (which is set for an August 21 release as of the writing of this article), and it will destroy the box office, as it would be two weeks after Morbius, more than enough time for that to die out. Heck, you could even place Wonder Woman against Bill & Ted, they would have nothing to fear from that.


Last year was the first one in a long time that a studio decided to open a big franchise film in August, with Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw on August 2, and that movie went on to make over $750 million worldwide, being a spinoff film! Year after year, August is the movie calendar equivalent to no man’s land, and I strongly believe there is a lot of money to be made there – look at It, which came out in September, a month that before 2017 was in a similar position than August, and it blew up the box office.