'Minions: The Rise of Gru' has had its release date pulled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Carell who voices Gru

Steve Carell who voices Gru

The animated flick, a spin-off/prequel to the 'Despicable Me' franchise, was slated for release on July 3 but has become the latest movie to be impacted by the outbreak of the virus.

The project's production company, Illumination Animation, had to close its studios in France as a result of the lockdown in the country to limit the spread of the respiratory disease, meaning that the film wouldn't be completed in time.

Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, said in a statement: "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."

He continued: "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."

The movie - which features the voice of Steve Carell as Gru - is the third major film distributed by Universal Pictures to be affected by the pandemic. The latest instalment of the 'Fast and Furious' franchise, 'F9' has been pushed back to 2021 and 'Trolls World Tour' will forego a cinematic release and debut on home entertainment on April 10, the same day it was supposed to hit the big screen.