Amid the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, will the most highly-anticipated films of the fall actually be coming to theaters?
Paramount announced Wednesday it has delayed Top Gun: Maverick, which was set to be one of the fall's biggest movies, from Nov. 19 to May 27, Variety reports. The studio also delayed Jackass Forever from Oct. 22 to Feb. 4, while Mission: Impossible 7 has been postponed from May 2022 to September 2022. Both Top Gun and Mission: Impossible are "big potential billion dollar grossing franchises" that "require the world to be in an ideal order, not crimped by a pandemic," Deadline wrote.
As COVID-19 cases climbed due to the Delta variant, delays grew more likely, with one studio executive telling The Hollywood Reporter in August, "If I knew six weeks ago what I know now, I would have moved everything as far out as early next year." Paramount already postponed Clifford the Big Red Dog, while Sony delayed Venom: Let There Be Carnage from September to October.
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Other major films scheduled for 2021 include No Time to Die, Eternals, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. So will any of them also forfeit their release dates? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to debut this weekend as the first Marvel movie released exclusively in theaters since 2019, so how it performs amid the Delta surge could potentially determine what the fall schedule looks like, in the same way Tenet's disappointing debut last year triggered additional movie postponements.
For now, at least one film looks to be holding firm, as Sony announced Wednesday Ghostbusters: Afterlife has been moved to Top Gun's previous November release date.
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