Paramount has pulled the ejector seat on Top Gun: Maverick‘s November release date.
In a move pushing back two Tom Cruise tentpoles, Top Gun: Maverick is departing its Nov. 19 date and will now open May 27, 2022. Meanwhile, Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 7 is leaving that May 27, 2022, date and will now open Sept. 30, 2022. The studio has also pushed back Jackass Forever, which moves to Feb. 4, 2022, departing an Oct. 22, 2021, date.
The moves come as concerns over the delta variant continue to hamper theater attendance and make releasing tentpoles into cinemas a risky proposition for studios. Paramount, like other studios, regularly consults with epidemiologists on decisions such as this, and the studio is hopeful the box office will recover in 2022 when these films are now set to open.
Shortly after Paramount announced Top Gun was exiting Nov. 19, Sony pushed Ghostbusters: Afterlife to that date. (It previously was set for Nov. 11.) Afterlife will screen in Imax.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returns to direct the seventh and eighth installments of the franchise. Joseph Kosinski helms Maverick, which last week unspooled off its first 13 minutes at CinemaCon, the convention for theater owners where speculation as to when the box office would return to pre-COVID levels was a hot topic.
While studios such as Warner Bros. and Disney have experimented with putting tentpoles on streaming services and in theaters day-and-date, Paramount has kept many of its big titles, such as A Quiet Place Part II, for theatrical only. It did sell off The Tomorrow War to Amazon and put Mark Wahlberg’s Infinite on Paramount+ exclusively, but it has been expected that Top Gun and Mission would remain theatrical only, as Cruise is a strong proponent of the theatrical experience and because of the hefty budgets of these movies.
“That doesn’t mean that decision is the right decision for every film,” said Paramount distribution exec Chris Aronson at CinemaCon of its Quiet Place II gamble, but “the underlying principle couldn’t be more clear: The theatrical experience is irreplaceable.”