Once there was a time when Top Gun: Maverick was slated to come out in summer 2019, i.e. approximately 33 years after Tom Cruise’s first outing as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell played in theaters. However, the Top Gun sequel has been delayed a handful of times over the last several years, with the current plan being for it to arrive on May 27, 2022. However, if IMAX’s head honcho had his way, Maverick would have stayed put in its prior 2021 slot.
For those unaware, Top Gun: Maverick was shot in IMAX format, so it’s long been planned for this movie to screen in the premium visual format. That said, in a media conference (via Deadline), IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond noted that he was so impressed by the sequel that he urged Paramount Pictures to keep it on November 19, 2021. In Gelfond’s words:
It is so good as a matter of fact I tried to urge them [to keep the date] because I think that whatever conditions there are, people would flock to see it. But I think they just want perfect conditions around it.
Paramount announced two weeks ago that Top Gun: Maverick would be moving to May 27 of next year, the date that previously belong to another upcoming Tom Cruise movie, Mission: Impossible 7, which is now opening on September 30, 2022. This was reportedly done so Maverick could screen at a time when the pandemic isn’t affecting movie theaters as much, if at all. But as Rich Gelfond sees it, plenty of people would still have turned out to catch the next Top Gun movie had it stayed in November. Now though, that opening weekend will only deliver Ghostbusters: Afterlife and King Richard from Sony Pictures and Warner Bros., respectively.
In any case, Rich Gelfond understands why Paramount decided to hold Top Gun: Maverick for summer 2022, especially considering how much has time has passed since its predecessor killed it at the box office with a $357 million worldwide haul. As the IMAX CEO explained:
I have spent a lot of time close to a lot of the decision makers at Paramount and… in Top Gun they think they have something very special. Tom Cruise waited more than 35 years to make that movie. I think they just feel that for that franchise, and with that kind of quality, they want to make sure the box office is 100%.
While certain movies released this year have financially succeeded under these strange circumstances, such as F9 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it’s still abundantly clear that we’re a ways off from movie theaters being able to operate “normally.” Whether things will have significantly improved by the time Top Gun: Maverick is expected to come out remains to be seen, but the big takeaway from this is that Rich Gelfond is confident the sequel will knock it out of the proverbial park commercially.
Along with Tom Cruise reprising one of his most memorable ‘80s roles, Top Gun: Maverick will also feature the return of Val Kilmer’s Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, while the new faces include Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris and Glenn Powell, among others. Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski directed the sequel off a script written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Cruise’s Mission: Impossible collaborator Christopher McQuarrie. Maverick’s first 15 minutes were screened last month at CinemaCon.