Minions

The Minions in "Despicable Me 2." The quirky miniature yellow characters' new movie will now come out in 2015 rather than next year. (Universal Pictures)

The animation exodus from 2014 is continuing as Universal Pictures announced that it will move its “Minions in 3D,” a spinoff from the blockbuster “Despicable Me” franchise, from December 2014 to July 10, 2015.

The move comes the same week that Disney said it was moving its troubled Pixar Animation Studios title “The Good Dinosaur” from May 2014 to November 25, 2015.

Pixar is replacing the film’s director, Bob Peterson, and the resulting production delays will mean that Pixar will have no theatrical release next year, the first time since 2005 that the studio will go a calendar year without a new movie.

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Universal said it was postponing the “Minions” release date not because of production issues but to maximize the film’s box office revenue.  “Despicable Me 2,” released on July 3, has grossed more than $840 million worldwide. It trails only “Iron Man 3” as the year’s most popular release.

To make room in its 2015 schedule for the “Minions” movie, which is produced by Universal’s Illumination Entertainment, the studio is moving a different, untitled Illumination release from July 2015 to February 2016.

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Sony Pictures will now have to decide whether to move its “Smurfs 3,” which is scheduled to come out just two weeks after the “Minions” movie, to safer ground. The last "Smurfs" film was trounced by "Despicable Me 2" at the box office.

Sony did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Competition among animated films is skyrocketing. This  year, 11 animated movies will be released widely, up from six a decade ago.  Even with “Minions” and “The Good Dinosaur” moving out of next year, 2015’s animated slate still includes “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” “Rio 2,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Planes: Fire & Rescue.” 

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