Paramount Delays ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Amid Resurgent Coronavirus

ViacomCBS Inc. moved the release date for “Top Gun: Maverick” into next year as Hollywood continues to wrestle with the pandemic that’s kept many people from theaters.

The highly anticipated sequel featuring action star Tom Cruise was expected to debut on Nov. 19, and will instead move to May 27. 

The change was part of a broader reshuffling of dates at Viacom’s Paramount Pictures studio. “Mission: Impossible 7,” also featuring Cruise, moved to Sept. 30 of next year from the May date “Top Gun” has taken. “Jackass Forever” shifted to Feb. 4 from this October. 

Sony Corp. subsequently moved its film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” one week forward to the November date “Top Gun” had occupied, a coveted one just before Thanksgiving.

Studios are all reacting to the challenges presented by the delta strain of the coronavirus, which has slowed the broader economic recovery and caused health officials to put new restrictions on gatherings. The movie industry doesn’t expect a broader return to theaters until at least next year.

To date, the domestic box office has taken in about $2.1 billion in ticket sales, only about a quarter of what it made during the same time period in 2019, according to data from Comscore Inc. That includes some big hits, including Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” which has now made almost $300 million globally, but figures are still muted. Further, in some international territories, including in Asia and Australia, markets that would normal see high levels of moviegoing are totally shut down.

“Top Gun” picks up the storyline from the 1986 film. It was one of the bigger movies scheduled for release in theaters in late 2021, with a budget of about $150 million, according to trade reports. Paramount plans to show it exclusively in cinemas for at least 45 days, rather than pursue a simultaneous release on a streaming service, a strategy studios have been using to reach virus-wary movie lovers.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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