Delaying ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Amid Pandemic ‘Proved to Be the Right Call,’ Paramount CEO Says

by Alex Falls

Top Gun: Maverick is without a doubt the biggest hit of the summer. The film is still holding strong in theaters more than two months after its release. But it was a long road to get the film on screens. The Top Gun sequel was filmed in 2019 but didn’t see release until earlier this year after extensive delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many studios eventually released their delayed films on streaming services during the pandemic, Paramount held firm on holding Top Gun: Maverick back until crowds could comfortably come back to theaters. The move paid off big time as Top Gun: Maverick bulldozed through the competition and set box office records left and right.

Paramount President and CEO Bob Bakish announced the company’s second-quarter earnings on Thursday, and the success of Top Gun: Maverick was a major talking point during the call.

“Nowhere is our popularity more evident than at the box office,” Bakish said. “Look no further than Top Gun: Maverick, which is already the biggest film was 2022 and our fifth No. 1 title this year. In fact, Top Gun: Maverick just cleared $1.3 billion at the global box office and became one of the top 10 domestic movies of all time.”

Success on All Fronts For Paramount

Bakish explained some of the reasoning behind holding Top Gun: Maverick back from streaming release. He said it was a strategic move to make sure audiences got the chance to get the full cinematic experience. Plus it gave the struggling theater industry something to attract the audiences back.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, we were very selective with our releases. Holding certain films until market conditions improved. While we couldn’t release Top Gun: Maverick and The Lost City earlier. We held off because we knew these phenomenal stories would bring audiences back to theaters,” Bakish said. “That proved to be the right call. Paramount continues to shine at the box office with numbers that outperformed even our own expectations. And we’re excited about the future.”

Bakish hopes the success for Paramount will continue into the end of the year with their next high-profile release, Babylon from writer-director Damien Chazelle starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Not only that, but their flagship streaming service is also delivering quality content to audiences at home.

“Viewers hungry for incredible storytelling are also turning up in ever greater numbers to our flagship streaming service,” Bakish said. “The diversity and quality of our content is unrivaled, especially on Paramount+.”

When Will Maverick Come to Streaming?

The studio remains tight-lipped on when Top Gun: Maverick will finally arrive on its streaming service. But Bakish is certain the studio’s quality content will keep audiences tuned in regardless of how long it takes.

“Our content consistently attracts and entertains mass audiences,” Bakish said. “When I say audiences, I don’t just mean kids or adults, I mean the whole household, not just the coasts, but the entire country, not just the U.S., but the entire world, not just the streaming audience, but the TV, theatrical and streaming audience. Part of the reason is that we don’t just make popular content, we also make content popular by leveraging our powerful platforms.”