Tom Cruise Would Have Delayed Top Gun: Maverick For An Insane Amount Of Time

Tom Cruise tells Jimmy Kimmel he would've held out releasing Top Gun: Maverick for a decade if he'd needed to in order to make sure it got a theatrical release.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

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Could Covid-19 have ever defeated the theatrical release of last year’s Top Gun: Maverick? According to Tom Cruise, it’s not likely. Recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the superstar told the host he would’ve gladly waited “10 years” to release the sequel theatrically, if that’s how long it took.

Tom Cruise doesn’t make late-night appearances much, but he showed up on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday. When the host mentioned “the pressure” Cruise was under to release Maverick on streaming rather than waiting for a theatrical release — but instead refused and waited until theaters were doing business again — Cruise insisted that “the film was made for the screen.” When asked if he would’ve waited for 10 years if necessary, the Maverick lead didn’t hesitate to say that’s exactly what he would’ve done.

“People have been asking for the movie for 34 years, what’s a couple more years? …I would have held out for 10 years. Look, the film is made for the screen, I have friends all through my actors’ friends and studios in theatrical, I made it for theatrical, that’s what I did. We all did, we all made it for theatrical, it wasn’t just me, the whole crew.”

-Tom Cruise

As Kimmel points out, and Box Office Mojo confirms, Tom Cruise was “a billion and a half dollars right.” Top Gun: Maverick broke one ticket sale record after another. By the end of 2022, Maverick would prove to be one of only three films released that year — the others being Avatar: The Way of Water and Jurassic World Dominion — to crack the $1 billion mark in worldwide gross.

Would Tom Cruise have actually waited an entire decade to release Top Gun: Maverick? He certainly seems convinced of the idea on Jimmy Kimmel Live though, to be fair, had the COVID-19 lockdowns lasted that long, it’s highly doubtful there would be any theaters left for Cruise to release the movie to. After all, in spite of massive hits like Maverick, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Way of Water, and more, the movie theater industry is still struggling.

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Cineworld, owner of Regal Cinema, filed for bankruptcy in 2022 and has since shut down over 60 of its locations across the United States. So while people like Tom Cruise and James Cameron are certainly making sure the cinematic theater industry is in better shape than it was in 2020, it’s still not enough to bring it back to where it was in 2019 and earlier.

Tom Cruise is no doubt hoping to recreate the success of Top Gun: Maverick — or at least something not too far from it — for this summer’s Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One. Scheduled to hit theaters July 14, the film will be the penultimate chapter in Cruise’s blockbuster espionage series. Part Two is scheduled to come out in 2024.