When movies started being delayed early in 2020 there was a hope that the problem would only exist for a couple of months at the most. As time went on it became clear that theatrical delays were going to be a much bigger deal, and before long most people began to look toward 2021 as the time when things might start to improve. But so far, that's not really happening. We're already hearing rumors that movies like Black Widow and Top Gun: Maverick, which are planning to release this summer, might get pushed back once again or moved to streaming platforms.
However, Paramount has now issued a statement to deny there are any plans to delay Top Gun: Maverick or move it to the Paramount+ streaming service. Paramount President Chris Aronson spoke to THR, saying:
We have no plans to move our theatrical release of Top Gun. I think the next two months are critical, and whether the new administration can implement a robust vaccination plan. If Biden’s 100 million vaccines in 100 days works, then I think we’ll be in good shape.
On the one hand, the statement from Paramount is clear that, right now, there are no plans to change the plan with Top Gun: Maverick. At the same time, the statement leaves the door open for a change down the road. More than likely, in a couple of months, Paramount will survey the situation once again. If things are seen to "be in good shape" as Chris Aronson hopes, things will move forward. If not, we could still see delays or changes in the distribution plan.
Most studios are clearly hoping and planning for things to be back to something close to normal. While Warner Bros. made the surprising move to shift its entire 2021 slate to HBO Max alongside theatrical releases, other studios have not been so bold. Disney is using a similar strategy with its first major 2021 release, Raya and the Last Dragon, but the rest of the slate is still planned for theaters alone.
Some movies like Sony's Morbius have been pushed back already, and it seems likely that we're not quite done with delays yet. The latest James Bond movie, which was the first major release to delay its opening last spring just did it again, meaning it is now set to come out a year and a half after it was originally planned.
Top Gun: Maverick has not been delayed yet, but the possibility certainly still exists that it might happen. It will depend on a lot of factors almost all of which are outside the control of Paramount. In the end, nobody wants to see the movie delayed; but if nobody can actually see the movie, it may need to happen. The long awaited sequel is currently planned for a July 2nd release.