Paramount dug its heels in on possibly selling the “Top Gun” sequel, after spending much of the pandemic shedding some of its big titles.
Paramount Pictures has spent much of the pandemic selling off its major titles to the big streamers, including Amazon Studios and Netflix. In 2020 alone, Paramount sold films including Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar contender “The Trial of the Chicago 7” to Netflix, as well as Michael Showalter’s action comedy “The Lovebirds.” Meanwhile, Paramount sold the rights to Tom Clancy thriller “Without Remorse,” starring Michael B. Jordan, as well as the Eddie Murphy sequel “Coming 2 America,” to Amazon. Paramount also shuttled “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” to Hulu at the last minute.
But two of the biggest titles still on Paramount’s slate for 2021 are “Top Gun: Maverick,” set for a July 2 release after being repeatedly postponed due first to post-production issues and then the pandemic, and the seventh “Mission: Impossible” film, scheduled for November 19. According to a recent report out of the Wall Street Journal, both Netflix and Apple courted Paramount Pictures to buy “Top Gun: Maverick”:
Netflix and Apple both inquired if Paramount Pictures would be willing to sell the highly anticipated sequel “Top Gun: Maverick,” starring Tom Cruise, which had been due to open in theaters last summer. Based on the strength of the film’s perceived box-office prospects, the studio refused to consider offers, according to people familiar with the matter. So far, “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to debut in theaters this July.
A Paramount Pictures representative confirmed to IndieWire that the studio received inquiries but that it had no intention of selling the film to a streamer. Paramount would not confirm, however, that those inquiries came from Netflix and Apple. A Netflix spokesperson said the streamer never formally bid on the movie, which given its classic, built-in IP and Tom Cruise in the cockpit, could rake in big box-office numbers over the July 4 holiday weekend if theaters are in fact open.
However, as the vaccine continues to trickle out slowly, studios are starting to pull back on releasing their films in the spring or summer. And that includes Paramount, which just bumped “A Quiet Place Part II” (again) from April 23 to September 17. Another major title to move on the calendar is MGM/United Artists’ “No Time to Die,” shifted once again to a new opening date of October 8.
Another highlight of the Wall Street Journal report includes the circulating rumor that Christopher Nolan will be leaving longtime partner Warner Bros. after the studio’s decision to push its 2021 titles onto HBO Max. Reps for Nolan did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request for comment.