Deadline reports Paramount Pictures will be delaying the release of three of its biggest upcoming films — including the latest installments in the Top Gun and Mission Impossible franchises — to 2022.
In the announcement, the production company attributed the delays to the ongoing pandemic, stating that Mission: Impossible 7, Top Gun: Maverick, and Jackass Forever won’t be hitting their release dates as originally planned.
The new Top Gun movie is being moved back from Thanksgiving weekend 2021 to Memorial Day 2022, Mission: Impossible 7 now has a release date of September 30, 2022, and Jackass Forever is now set to hit theaters on February 4, 2022.
The past year-and-a-half has been a challenging one for the film industry, with theaters closed across the globe due to strict lockdown protocol. Government-mandated social distancing and lockdown have eased since, but although theaters have begun operating once again, ticket sales indicate that moviegoers remain apprehensive of returning to pre-pandemic cinema experience.
Film fans are also increasingly turning to opening day streams to enjoy newly-released films, which has led to disappointing ticket sales in recent months, even for big-name titles expected to perform well, like Marvel’s Black Widow.
As the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc around the world, the box office rebound many studios were hoping for in 2021 continues to be delayed. The move to delay the new Mission: Impossible and Top Gun movies are indicative of studios’ concern that even proven film superstars like Tom Cruise, who stars in both films, aren’t enough to draw viewers into theaters.
Top Gun: Maverick has already been delayed multiple times, and in June, shooting for Mission: Impossible 7 was forced to shut down for several days due to a crew member contracting Covid.
Tom Cruise, who also acts as a producer for both films, has repeatedly expressed serious concern for the impact of coronavirus. Cruise previously reprimanded crew members on Mission: Impossible 7 for what he deemed was a worrying disregard for the seriousness of Covid-19.