'Fast & Furious 7' put on hold after Paul Walker's death
Production on "Fast & Furious 7" has been shut down following the death of star Paul Walker.
Shooting on the film had been scheduled to resume this week in Atlanta but production has been put on hold indefinitely, according to a statement released by Universal Pictures on Wednesday.
“Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers," the statement says. "At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on' Fast & Furious 7' for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping 'Fast & Furious' fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker." (NBCNews.com is operated by NBCUniversal Media LLC.)
Production on the latest installment of the franchise began in September. While a large portion of the film has been shot, the movie is incomplete.
It's scheduled for release July 11, a date that could be difficult to meet with any lengthy delay. Universal Pictures is expected to go forward with the film, but it has not announced how it will adjust the movie or handle Walker's unfinished performance.
The franchise, which has starred Walker in all but one installment, is particularly lucrative for Universal. "Fast & Furious 6," released in May, was the highest grossing film in the series, earning more than $788 million worldwide.
The manner of Walker's death — a fiery car crash in a specialty sports car — was also so reminiscent of the films that made him famous that "Fast & Furious 7" will be under particular scrutiny for how it portrays the fatal risks of street car racing.
Universal announced Tuesday that it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray and digital release of "Fast & Furious 6" to Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide.
Walker, 40, founded Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to give first-response aid to victims of natural disasters. Walker was hosting a fundraiser for the nonprofit on Saturday afternoon when he and fellow fast-car enthusiast Roger Rodas went for a ride in Rodas' 2005 Porsche Carrera GT and were killed in the crash north of Los Angeles.
Walker's family also has asked that donations be made to Reach Out Worldwide in lieu of flowers or gifts.
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Police investigators are examining the cause of the crash. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says witnesses described the car "traveling alone at a high rate of speed" before the Porsche smashed into a light pole and tree, and then exploded in flames.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Tuesday that it has completed autopsies on the two bodies recovered from the crash.
On Monday night, a private memorial for survivors and the cast and crew of the "Fast & Furious" movies was held inside a white tent erected around the crash site in Valencia. When it was over, Walker's co-star Vin Diesel emerged to thank fans for paying their respects to the actor.
Walker left behind two completed films that will be released.
He stars in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama "Hours," which Lionsgate's Pantelion Films will release Dec. 13 in limited theaters and on video-on-demand, as previously planned. Walker is a producer on the film, something he hadn't previously done.
Walker also stars in "Brick Mansions," a remake of the French action film "District B13" that Relativity plans to release early next year.