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There was a hint of frustration when TOP GUN: MAVERICK shifted on the calendar once again as it flew from the Fourth of July weekend to its new November 19, 2021, release date. We’ve been trying to feel the “need for speed” since last year when the highly anticipated sequel was originally set for release but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled those plans and soon Top Gun: Maverick was doing the release date shuffle like every other major 2020 studio release. Despite a move outside the summer corridor, the feeling about Top Gun: Maverick’s latest shift isn’t causing panic. In fact, a release date later in the year makes way for bigger box office and a chance for the film to reach its true global potential.
The decision by Paramount Pictures to move Top Gun: Maverick comes down to a few factors and “The Hollywood Reporter” reveals that a big reason for the move is that its star and biggest asset, Tom Cruise, will have an opportunity to go on a global press tour in advance of the opening. If things continue in their current trajectory in terms of vaccine rollout and declining positive cases of COVID-19, Cruise will be able to promote the film in much of Europe, something that is impossible right now due to lockdowns. Japan is also another viable option that will only boost the film’s international presence. Paramount Pictures believes that Top Gun: Maverick could be a billion-dollar earner at the global box office and the November release date makes those chances a lot higher.
Top Gun: Maverick will also face way less competition from other tentpoles that are braving the summer release landscape. Fast & Furious 9 is out on June 25, 2021, and Black Widow is on deck for July 9, 2021. Top Gun: Maverick was sandwiched in between these two releases and now they all have a bit more room to breathe. The industry felt that the Top Gun sequel would move off its July date when Black Widow made a final shift from May to July, while it didn’t happen right away, they were right to believe the move would take place. It would be easy to call this a who blinked first situation but the move was right for all parties involved. Currently, Top Gun: Maverick opens against the Will Smith-led, King Richard, which is a drama that has the actor playing the father of Venus and Serena Williams. These films will be going after different demographics and both will likely find success on the November 19 weekend.
The best indication that Top Gun: Maverick will be more huge in November is that weekly polls conducted by the National Research Group show that, for the first time, those who feel comfortable going to the movies has crossed 60%. A month ago that number was at 52% and NRG executive Ethan Titleman says “People are less worried about catching the virus and ready to be themselves again and go out.” Top Gun is also earning points with theater owners because the film is going to be a full-on theatrical release and won’t be doing the hybrid theatrical and streaming release pattern that is being tested by WarnerMedia and HBO Max and Disney+ with their Premier Access Program for releases like Black Widow. Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore says “Theater owners have grown accustomed to an ever-changing release calendar. What pains them the most is when a major title decides to go day and date in cinemas and the home.”
Essentially, Top Gun: Maverick has a lot working in its favor by going ahead with this last release delay. A veteran studio executive says “Tom Cruise is one of the few stars who can move the needle by doing late-night shows and premieres across the world.” This will be a true test of his movie star power but all the necessary tools seem to be in place for the film to have a healthy run at the worldwide box office due to this last round of movie release patience.
Do YOU think Top Gun: Maverick will perform better in November compared to its last release date over the Fourth of July weekend?