For those hoping that 2021 would mark the end of massive delays for blockbuster films, sadly it’s not over yet. Universal Pictures is waiting it out just a bit longer, pushing one of its biggest releases back an entire year.
The upcoming fifth installment in the Despicable Me franchise, Minions: The Rise of Gru, will now debut in 2022. Instead of its planned July 2, 2021 release, the animated film is now set for July 1st, 2022. While family films like Tom & Jerry: The Movie and The Croods 2 have done well at the box-office in the pandemic-era, Universal seems to want to protect its most prominent properties.
This also applies to the long-running and beloved Fast and the Furious franchise, which sees a less striking delay. Initially set for release during Memorial Day weekend in the states, F9 will zoom into cinemas on June 25th. This marks the latest in a string of postponements for the film; the ninth Fast and Furious movie had plans to open in 2020, even premiering an explosive first trailer that delighted fans. Due to the on-going global health pandemic, the film was pushed to April 2nd, 2021, and then to May 28th.
Some industry insiders see these Universal Picture delays as a shock, however. Since the Biden administration recently announced that they have plans to “have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May,” many saw that as a sign of good things to come. New York City even recently approved to reopen cinemas at a limited capacity.
But with the large price-tag for F9 and Minions being such a marketable film for the studio, it seems like they are going the extra step to handle these types of releases properly. At the time of reporting, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow is the next blockbuster set for release in theaters, and is due to arrive on May 7th.
Fast & Furious 9 sees Justin Lin directing series veterans Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Sung Kang, Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren, along with franchise newcomers John Cena (Bumblebee), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders), Anna Sawai (Ninja Assassin), Vinnie Bennett (Ghost in the Shell), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Cardi B (Hustlers), MMA fighter Francis Ngannou, and singer Ozuna.