Nearly a year after the film’s record-breaking success, Tom Cruise reflects on the decision for Top Gun: Maverick to be delayed over and over again. Cruise spent over a decade working to try and get a Top Gun sequel off the ground, first partnering with original director Tony Scott prior to his death before ultimately turning to Oblivion‘s Joseph Kosinski to direct on a script co-written by his longtime Mission: Impossible collaborator Christopher McQuarrie. Initially set for a July 2019 release, Top Gun: Maverick was delayed nearly three years before hitting theaters.
During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tom Cruise was asked about the long process to bring Top Gun: Maverick to theaters.
While specifically asked about the decision to delay the film’s release multiple times, Cruise defended his fight for it. The producer/star even went so far as to say he’d have waited “10 years” for Top Gun: Maverick‘s release, as he had one main goal for the sequel. See what Cruise said below:
People have been asking for the movie for 34 years, what’s a couple more years? I would have held out for 10 years. Look, the film is made for the big screen, I have friends all through my actors’ friends and studios in theatrical, I made it for theatrical, that’s what I did. We all did, we all made it for theatrical, it wasn’t just me, the whole crew.
How Cruise’s Gamble Paid Off For Top Gun (& Is Good For Mission: Impossible)
Cruise’s determination to keep Top Gun: Maverick exclusively as a theatrical release saw him prevent such streamers as Prime Video and Netflix from acquiring the rights for the sequel. While Christopher Nolan’s similar drive for Tenet to remain on the big screen in 2020 didn’t pan out, having lost Warner Bros. an estimated $50 million, Cruise had a better chance at success heading into the film’s final May 2022 release date. The prior December had seen the record-setting release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the first film to clear $1 billion grossed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even early 2022 indicated a promising turnout for Top Gun: Maverick at the box office, with The Batman clearing $770 million, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just shy of $1 billion and even Uncharted sailing past $400 million. Unlike the latter two, however, Cruise’s long-awaited sequel scored the best reviews for any film of 2022, clocking in at an impressive 96 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. This paired with audiences’ long wait for the film’s arrival ultimately culminated in Top Gun: Maverick netting nearly $1.5 billion, the highest-grossing of Cruise’s projects.
With Top Gun: Maverick having proven to be a critical and commercial smash after its multiple release delays, all eyes are now on how Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One turns out. Cruise has been similarly dedicated to ensuring the film is another strong step forward for the franchise, including his infamous outburst towards crew for COVID protocols being broken on set, paired with his recent string of sequel success could help it soar to the highest-grossing yet. In the meantime, audiences can revisit Cruise’s Naval return with Top Gun: Maverick now streaming on Paramount+.
More: Steven Spielberg Is Right About Top Gun: Maverick’s SuccessSource: Jimmy Kimmel Live