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Tom Cruise scales the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Los Angeles: The seventh and eighth movies in the 'Mission: Impossible' franchise starring Tom Cruise have been delayed until 2023 and 2024 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, producers Paramount Pictures and Skydance said in a statement on Friday.

'Mission: Impossible 7' had been scheduled to debut in movie theatres in September 2022, followed by 'Mission: Impossible 8' in July 2023.

The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series.

“After thoughtful consideration, Paramount Pictures and Skydance have decided to postpone the release dates for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 in response to delays due to the ongoing pandemic,” the companies said in a statement.

Theatre chains, including AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Holdings Inc, are still trying to recover from extended closures during the pandemic.