EXCLUSIVE: After a successful launch of clips and footage at CinemaCon, Paramount is pushing its big Tom Cruise tentpoles, Top Gun: Maverick to May 27, Memorial Day weekend 2022, and Mission: Impossible 7 to Sept. 30, 2022.
Again, these are big potential billion dollar grossing franchises co-produced with Skydance which require the world to be in an ideal order, not crimped by a pandemic. Mission: Impossible alone through six movies has grossed over $3.57 billion. The most recent movie in 2018, Mission: Impossible – Fallout hit a franchise high of $791.7M at the worldwide B.O.
Top Gun: Maverick vacates the pre-Thanksgiving weekend of Nov. 19, and takes over Mission: Impossible 7‘s previous spot of Memorial Day weekend next year, putting the sequel to the 1986 hit back in the summer, where the original first launched and grossed $357M-plus global.
In addition, Paramount’s Jackass Forever will debut on Feb. 4, 2022 instead of Oct. 22 this year.
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Why is Jackass moving too? Paramount didn’t want to cherry pick which movies will open in the current climate. In their view, all their filmmakers and stars deserve the same consideration and positioning in a future potential robust box office marketplace. For the time being, this leaves the rest of 2021 without any Paramount releases; their first big feature back is the Spyglass Dimension produced reboot of Scream on Jan. 14.
After Paramount consulted with experts and their own global team, they decided to move the movies given the current conditions of COVID and its Delta variant around the world. The outlook for global theater attendance is expected next year, which is the opportune time to maximize box office potential, and overall makes the most business sense for the studio’s movies. Recently, Paramount moved Clifford The Big Red Dog out of the fall and will re-date some time in the future.
There’s been buzz that Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, after wedging itself on the calendar on Oct. 15 post MGM/UAR’s No Time to Die, opening on Oct. 8, and prior to Warner Bros./HBO Max’s Dune, is expected to take over Top Gun: Maverick‘s Thanksgiving spot. We will see. Sony has released posters for Oct. 15 for Venom 2 and remains assertive that that’s where the sequel is going.
While NRG moviegoing comfort level date has remained stable over the last two weeks at roughly 67%, it’s down 11 points from July. In the latest NRG data from last week, 58% of Parents are ‘very or somewhat comfortable’ taking their children to the movies, which is down 5 points from Wednesday’s wave and is the lowest point we’ve seen on this measure since late April. Moms drove this decline, down 7 points to 53%. Overall, 25+ females have the lowest personal comfort (57%, vs. 79% among Males <25).
Similarly overseas, the comfort in attending a movie theater and positive outlook on the pandemic have declined from earlier this summer. Many markets – intercontinentally – have experienced big downturns over the past few months, including Australia, Mexico, Japan and China.
Some examples of key international markets floundering in the midst of another coronavirus downturn include Australia and Southeast Asia (The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, particularly.)
In Southeast Asia, The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are all fully shutdown, and Vietnam is operating at 2% of the market open. That said, most of Asia is still shut down or slowly return, i.e. Taiwan. Japan and Korea, continue to be more than half off of their normal box office market .
New Zealand, previously the safest place in the world in terms of the pandemic, is now on strict lockdown due to the delta variant, while Australia is still missing 55-60% of its pre-Covid theatrical footprint because of major regions such as Victoria and New South Wales being closed. It appears as though New South Wales (repping 40% of the market) won’t return until the end of October.
Latin American, while it’s seeing great slow growth, has major markets like Mexico and Brazil still 50% off from their pre-pandemic norms at the B.O.
Europe is more on track to be making a robust comeback, but with the vaccine passport in effect (particularly in France, Germany, and Italy), theatrical recovery is still slow. Italy recently posted a 70% decline off its box office norm, while France and UK are down 40%.