'Minions: The Rise of Gru' Postponed from July Release as French Animation Studio Is Forced to Close

The second standalone Minions movie has been delayed as its animation studio is forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic

There will no longer be a new Minions movie to cheer audiences up this summer.

Universal Illumination sadly announced on Thursday that its studio in Paris has been forced to close amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, meaning the upcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru won’t get finished in time for its July release date.

“In response to the severity of the situation in France, we are temporarily closing our Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris. With this decision we are abiding by the French Government’s guidelines and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the virus as we care for our artists and their families,” Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“This means we will be unable to finish Minions: The Rise of Gru in time for our planned global releases in late June and early July. While we all grapple with the enormity of this crisis, we must put the safety and protection of our employees above all. We look forward to finding a new release date for the return of Gru and the Minions.”

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Courtesy of Universal Studios

While several movies have been postponed as large gatherings are prohibited and movie theaters close, this is the first major studio movie to announce its delay for lack of being finished due to the effects of the pandemic.

Highly anticipated movies like the James Bond film No Time to Die, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II and the latest Fast and Furious sequel F9 will now be coming out at later dates.

The two biggest movie theater chains in the U.S. — AMC and Regal — both closed all of its theaters nationwide earlier this week as more and more people practice social distancing to combat the virus.

The delays come as the COVID-19 virus reached over 235,000 cases worldwide and over 9,700 deaths, with both numbers continuing to grow quickly.

In the U.S., there are now 10,755 cases and over 150 deaths as of Thursday, March 19.

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