Paramount has once again postponed "Top Gun: Maverick," this time moving it completely out of summer and into the later part of the year.
Tom Cruise’s sequel to his 1986 hit "Top Gun" was originally scheduled for the high-profile July 4 weekend but will now be released Nov. 19. It’s the third pandemic-era postponement for the long-awaited film (It was originally scheduled to open in June 2020.)
Paramount’s announcement, made Friday, is the latest evidence of a slimmed-down summer movie season this year. Despite signs that the COVID-19 pandemic may be abating — notably the nationwide vaccine rollout, California’s plan to fully reopen June 15 and predictions that the U.S. economy will return to normal levels this quarter — the movie industry seems to have cold feet about the coming summer months. Disney, for example, recently moved "Deep Water," a psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, from this coming August to Jan. 14, 2022.
Such moves can have long-term ripple effects. Paramount’s other big Tom Cruise movie, "Mission: Impossible 7," was originally scheduled for the date that now belongs to "Top Gun: Maverick," and so has been pushed to May 27, 2022. In turn, "Mission: Impossible 8," originally dated for November 4 of next year, is now moving to July 7, 2023.
A couple of films have actually been bumped up on the calendar. Following Paramount’s announcement, Universal quickly moved its horror-survival film "The Forever Purge" from July 9 to July 2 — the spot no longer occupied by "Top Gun: Maverick." Paramount also moved "Snake Eyes," the latest entry in the "G.I. Joe" franchise, from Oct. 22 to July 23.
There are still a handful of major films due for theatrical release this summer, though many will appear simultaneously on streaming platforms. That includes "Cruella" (May 28) and "Black Widow" (July 10), two Disney titles that will stream on Disney+ with Premier Access. Likewise, Warner Bros’ "Space Jam: A New Legacy" (July 16) and "The Suicide Squad" (August 6), will be available on HBO Max without an additional charge for one month after release.