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Paramount Pushes 'Top Gun' Sequel to May as Delta Further Disrupts Theatrical Biz

Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Giving a disappointing indicator that a return to previous theatrical release window patterns isn't nearly as close as we previously thought, Paramount Pictures confirmed Tuesday that it's pushing back premiere of its highly anticipated Tom Cruise sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, from November 19 to May 27 of next year. 

Paramount has also moved another Cruise-led franchise follow-up, Mission: Impossible 7, from May 27, 2022 to September 7, 2022. And Jackass Forever has moved shifted from October 22 to Feb. 4, 2022. 

It's a major setback for North American theatrical distribution, which seemed poised for a rebound as recently as early July, when Disney-Marvel film Black Widow debuted to around $80 million in theaters domestically, even though it was available as a $30 premium offering on the Disney Plus subscription streaming platform. 

Since then, the COVID-19 Delta variant has led a case surge that has surpassed 160,000 new cases daily in the U.S., ending any summer momentum U.S. theater chains might have had. 

According to research company NRG,  67% of moviegoers say they are "very" or "somewhat" comfortable visiting their local movie theater, which is down 11 points from July.

Scrolling down the remainder of the 2021 release calendar, few major releases are left, save for Warner Bros. titles that are simultaneously committed to HBO Max day-and-date streaming premieres. The Clint Eastwood-made drama Cry Macho (Sept. 17) and David Chase's The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark are next on the schedule. 

And titles keep dropping off the theatrical calendar, some of which are going the straight-to-streaming route. 

Peacock, for example, announced Tuesday that STXfilms' English adaptation of French thriller My Son, starring James McAvoy and Claire Foy, will debut on the NBCUniversal streaming service on Sept. 15. 

Here's a trailer for that movie:

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.