In the opening sequence of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the filmmakers paid homage to Tony Scott’s 1986 film, playing Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” in a nod to the original “Top Gun.”
Paramount showed off the first 13 minutes of “Top Gun: Maverick” at this week’s CinemaCon. The gathering of movie theater owners from across the globe took place in Las Vegas. During its presentation, the studio played the opening to the film as well as a new trailer.
Movie Theaters Threatened by Pandemic
While Paramount may be banking on the hopes that audiences will flock to theaters to see “Top Gun: Maverick,” that’s not a sure bet anymore. The pandemic has changed the calculus around going to the movies. And the rise of the delta variant means the threat has not yet passed.
Movie theaters have struggled since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Regal Cinemas closed over 500 of its locations across the country last October. Meanwhile, AMC took a net loss of $4.5 billion in 2020. That was thanks to what its CEO called “the most challenging market conditions in the 100-year history of the company.”
And theaters weren’t doing so well before the pandemic, either. According to Bloomberg, the total number of movie theaters nationwide had declined from 7,200 in 1996 to 5,500 by late 2019.
Still, at CinemaCon, theater owners talked of a comeback. They touted the value movie theaters have to local communities around the country. And they downplayed threats like the rise of streaming, per Indie Wire. They even compared their comeback challenge to archetypal hero stories like those of Rocky Balboa and Marvel superheroes. But whether movie theaters can save themselves, much less the world, remains to be seen.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Presentation Underscores Continuing Pandemic Risks
As Deadline notes, unlike in past years, the star of “Top Gun: Maverick” did not put in an appearance at this year’s CinemaCon. And his understandable absence underscores the reluctance of many people to venture out to crowded indoor spaces (like movie theaters) even now.
Instead, Cruise appeared onscreen in twin presentations from Paramount of “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” For the former movie, Cruise spent a year training for a dangerous stunt that required him to jump a motorbike off a steep cliff in Norway.
Cruise reportedly underwent 500 skydiving sessions and 13,000 motorbike jumps to prepare for the stunt. Now that’s an actor who does his homework.