Universal has removed the movie musical adaptation of the Broadway hit “Wicked” from its release slate from its original date on Dec. 22, 2021, and the studio has also pushed “Minions: The Rise of Gru” to July 2, 2021, a full year after its planned opening.
Illumination’s animated sequel “Sing 2” will now open in the place vacated by “Wicked.” A new date for “Wicked,” which had not yet begun production when the coronavirus pandemic hit, will be set later. The “Minions “sequel is now set to open in the slot previously held by “Sing 2.”
Stephen Daldry is directing the adaptation of the stage musical “Wicked” that serves as a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz.” No cast has been set for the film as of yet. Marc Platt is producing, and Winnie Holzman, who wrote the original musical book, is writing the screenplay.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” is Illumination’s sequel as part of its “Despicable Me” franchise featuring Steve Carell voicing his supervillain Gru when he was a child trying to become a supervillain. The film was initially postponed back in March after TheWrap reported that the film would be unable to complete post-production while Illumination’s studio in France was closed due to the coronavirus.
The third “Despicable Me” movie made over $1 billion worldwide for Universal, including nearly three-quarters of that total internationally. The latest film is billed as a “Minions” movie but follows the origin story of Gru (Steve Carell) as a child with ambitions to become the world’s greatest supervillain. The movie debuted a trailer during the Super Bowl.
“Sing” from 2016 grossed $634 million worldwide from a $75 million budget and holds a record as one of the highest grossing movies that never hit #1 at the domestic box office. The film about a singing competition made up of animals starred Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Seth MacFarlane.
Universal had already kicked “F9,” the latest “Fast & Furious” sequel, to Memorial Day weekend 2021 after it was meant to open in April.
Universal’s news comes after Sony shuffled its entire summer 2020 release slate. It moved three of its summer tentpoles, including “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” all to 2021. In the process, it removed the Tom Hanks WWII movie “Greyhound,” meant to open in June, from its release slate, and further delayed the openings of the video game movie “Uncharted” and an untitled Sony/Marvel film.
It’s a sign of potentially more to come from other major studios potentially writing off the summer 2020 box office and preparing for the possibility that even if movie theaters are able to welcome back audiences with reduced capacity in auditoriums by July, there will be little product to lure back moviegoers who might already be wary of returning to crowded spaces.
Universal’s “Trolls World Tour” was originally meant to open theatrically on April 10 but will now open day-and-date digitally. Some of its other big remaining films include a Pete Davidson and Judd Apatow comedy, an untitled “Purge” sequel and the “Halloween” sequels set for October 2020 and 2021.