Paramount Pictures on Wednesday postponed the release of ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ sending another of the autumn’s top movies out of 2021 due to the rise in coronavirus cases and the delta variant.
Instead of opening November 19, the ‘Top Gun’ sequel, starring Tom Cruise, will instead debut Memorial Day weekend next year, on May 27. Additionally, ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ will be delayed from May 27 to September 30 next year.
The postponement is the latest setback for Hollywood’s once-hopeful autumn movie season. The delta-driven surge has upended the industry’s plans for some return to normality at multiplexes. The flight of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ follows a similar delay for Paramount’s ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’ Paramount also on Wednesday pushed ‘Jackass Forever’ from October 22 to February 4.
While some studios have hedged their bets with big releases by simultaneously streaming them on release, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures have tried to stay the course of a more traditional theatrical release. Sony earlier delayed ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ from September to October 15 due to the rise in cases. Following Paramount’s announcement, Sony on Wednesday moved ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ from November 11 to November 19.
But several prominent big-budget releases haven’t vacated the autumn. Most notably, MGM and United Artists’ James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ remains slated for release in North America on October 8.
Until recently, Paramount was gearing up to release ‘Maverick.’ The studio last month teased the film’s first 13 minutes at CinemaCon, the annual exhibitor convention.
Paramount hasn’t kept all of its films. It has sold off some release, like ‘The Tomorrow War,’ with Chris Pratt, to streamers. ‘Infinite,’ a poorly reviewed sci-fi thriller with Mark Wahlberg, debuted directly on Paramount+. But films like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ would in normal times hope to approach as much as $1 billion (Dh3.7 billion) in worldwide box office.
Universal’s ‘F9’ has grossed more than any other movie during the pandemic, with more than $700 million in ticket sales. But most of its receipts came before the delta variant surge. Paramount’s ‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ one of the first tentpoles to wade into theatres earlier this year, took in close to $300 million worldwide.