Paramount has pulled ejector seats on two Tom Cruise-starring titles, including the long-awaited and highly-anticipated sequel to the 1986’s Top Gun, called Top Gun: Maverick, and the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible movie franchise. Both movies have been pushed further due to the ongoing surge of the delta variant of COVID-19.
Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick will now open in theaters on May 27, 2022, instead of November 19 this year, while Mission: Impossible 7 is being pushed back four months, from May 27 to September 30, 2022. As a part of Paramount’s announcement, the studio also pushed back the highly-anticipated Jackass Forever from October 22 this year to February 4, 2022. The reason behind the date shuffle, according to Variety, lies in the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The highly awaited Top Gun sequel has been delayed several times before during the pandemic. The sequel to the iconic 80s action movie starring Tom Cruise was originally scheduled to be released on July 12, 2019, but suffered five delays before setting on the new date. Reportedly, Netflix and Apple TV+ have tried to purchase the distribution rights to the film, but Paramount has refused to sell them. So instead, the movie will stream on Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release.
The same can be said for Mission: Impossible 7. The seventh installment in the action spy movie franchise was initially set to release on July 23, before it was delayed to November 19, then to May 27, 2022, and ultimately to September 30, 2022. Its previous release date, May 27, was given to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick. Though we haven’t come across any information regarding the acquisition of distribution rights for Mission: Impossible 7, like with Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount also aims to stream the film on Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release. Of course, this begs the question: will Tom Cruise’s movies ever get one?
Various studies have revealed a significant decline in consumer confidence in returning to movie theaters. Most notably, 67% of moviegoers are comfortable visiting their local theater, which is down 11 points from July. In addition, 58% of parents also expressed high levels of confidence when it comes to their kids visiting local theaters, which is down five points from last week and marks the lowest point since late April 2021. So, the aforementioned dates shuffle doesn’t deal a blow to Tom Cruise alone – movie theaters and production companies are also affected.
Theater chains, like Cinemark Holdings and AMC Theaters, which are now accepting Bitcoin payments for online ticket purchases, rely heavily on blockbuster titles such as Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7 to help lure audiences back to the movies. Additionally, Paramount needs both Tom Cruise movies to be massive worldwide hits, both in the box office and on streaming platforms. Unfortunately, COVID-19 surges make the global marketplace for such titles less accessible, prompting Paramount and other movie producing companies to delay their titles rather than “sell them for cheap.”