Top Gun: Maverick won’t be flying into theaters as soon as we thought, as Paramount Pictures has announced it has changed the release date for the anticipated Tom Cruise sequel from Nov. 19, 2021, to Memorial Day weekend in 2022, according to a report from Deadline. The studio has also made date changes to their other Tom Cruise-led blockbuster, Mission: Impossible 7, and Jackass Forever.
A sequel to 1986’s Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick sees Cruise return to his iconic role of hot-shot pilot Maverick, still up to his old ways pushing fighter jets to their limits. Joining Cruise in the film is Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Manny Jacinto and Val Kilmer, returning to his original role as Iceman. Joseph Kosinski directed the movie.
Paramount debuted the first 13 minutes of Top Gun: Maverick recently at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, but theatergoers will have to wait an extra six months before they get to see the film on the big screen. The new official release date is May 27, 2022. (Watch the trailer below if you need your aerial fix).
As a result of the move, Mission: Impossible 7, which previously occupied the May 27 date on Paramount’s calendar, is staying in 2022, but will now head to fall with a Sept. 30 release date.
The last bit of news from Paramount was that Jackass Forever, the fourth film from the comedy stunt performers, is moving from its originally planned Oct. 22 release date to Feb. 4, 2022.
Release date changes are nothing new during the pandemic. Most blockbuster films that were originally planned for 2020 eventually had to be pushed into 2021, while other films opted to go the streaming route. Release date shifts have continued into this year, particularly as the delta variant has emerged.
Previously, Sony pushed Venom: Let There Be Carnage back from a September release to Oct. 15 (where it currently remains) and sold Hotel Transylvania 4 to Amazon, skipping theaters altogether for a streaming release on Prime Video. Following the Top Gun: Maverick announcement, Sony made one more change to its schedule, pushing Ghostbusters: Afterlife back about a week from Nov. 11 to the now vacated Now. 19 release date.
Paramount had success earlier in the summer releasing one of its delayed blockbuster films in theaters, A Quiet Place Part II. One of the first big movies to get an exclusive theatrical release since vaccines were made available, A Quiet Place Part II set a then pandemic box-office record (broken by F9, then Black Widow) and has made $160 million in the U.S., $296 million globally. After 45 days in theaters, Paramount debuted A Quiet Place Part II on Paramount Plus for free to its subscribers.
The move to push Top Gun: Maverick into 2022 is likely because the studio is unsure of what the situation with the pandemic will be in November and how eager people will be to go to the movies. But by pushing the film again to a summer blockbuster date rather than just debuting it on Paramount Plus, it’s a sign that the studio believes the best financial result from the film will come via the movie theater box office. Top Gun: Maverick is expected to follow the same 45-day blueprint that A Quiet Place Part II set.
It’ll be interesting to see how the other big fall movies chose to react this fall. The next Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is playing exclusively in theaters, but Disney is likely watching closely to see if they’ll be doing the same for Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home, or revert back to Disney Plus Premier Access strategy it had with Black Widow.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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