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The next installment in Universal’s Fast & Furious is shifting gears yet again, and will now roar into theaters on June 25 instead of May 28.
In a more dramatic move, the studio announced that Illumination’s origins story Minions: The Rise of Gru is being pushed out of 2021 entirely. It is now set to hit the big screen on July 1, 2022, moving from July 2 of this year.
The two titles are among numerous tentpoles that were originally set to unfurl in 2020. When the pandemic struck, everything changed and studios began delaying their big releases.
While Hollywood cheered behind the scenes on Tuesday after President Biden said everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be by May, film studios are still uncertain as to when all theaters will reopen, both in North America and abroad. Universal wants to ensure that most locations are once again in operation by the time F9 opens.
This weekend, cinemas in New York City have been given the greenlight to once again welcome customers, albeit at 25 percent capacity. Los Angeles movie theaters expect to be able to begin opening in the next few weeks, but there’s no official word yet. The two jurisdictions are the top moviegoing markets in the country.
For their part, cinema owners they need high-profile product upon reopening. With the F9 delay, that means the big May event pic is Disney and Marvel’s Black Widow. So far, Disney hasn’t yet moved that film’s May 7 release date.
In F9, Vin Diesel returns as Dom Toretto, as does Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz, alongside Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster and Helen Mirren. Michael Rooker joins the cast of the franchise in this installment. The movie also includes John Cena, playing Dom’s brother, Cardi B and Peaky Blinders star Finn Cole.
Fast franchise veteran Justin Lin directs the ninth entry in the hugely successful series that launched with 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. He is also attached to direct the tenth and 11th installments.
The Rise of Gru — whose production was disrupted because of the pandemic — returns Steve Carell in the titular role. Newcomers to the voice cast include Alan Arkin, Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren and Danny Trejo. The film also features Russell Brand, Michelle Yeoh and Julie Andrews.
Insiders say pushing the film a year allowed the studio to claim a high-profile date.
Steered by the franchise’s original creators, Gru is produced by Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda and co-directed by Brad Ableson. The film features the iconic voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions.
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