Tom Cruise is trying to outrun another villain: COVID. The star’s “Mission: Impossible” action franchise just got bumped again. The seventh film moves from 2022 to 2023, the eighth film moves to 2024. This wipes a blockbuster from the Paramount+ lineup this year. The earliest we’d see the new spy thriller on the streaming service is late-2023.
After a rebrand from “CBS All Access,” Paramount+ is finally starting to resemble a big-time streaming service. We’ve seen outsized success with its strategy for deciding streaming vs. theatrical releases. Family films go to theaters and Paramount+ simultaneously, while adult-skewing films go only to theaters. That reduces piracy on the marquee titles while extracting the biggest possible box office.
When it comes to movies, Paramount’s biggest franchises are “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek.” The sci-fi franchise is taking a breather from the big screen, focusing on multiple TV series instead. That leaves the “M:I” series as the theatrical tentpole. “Top Gun: Maverick” is still slated for release on May 27, 2022. If the Tom Cruise sequel stays put, it would hit Paramount+ mid-July. But considering today’s news, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the movie fly to another date as well.
While Paramount’s theatrical slate looks like a ghost town, the streaming service is plowing more effort into its series. The service is doubling down on works from one of its most popular behind-the-scenes talents: “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan. He’s the force behind “Mayor of Kingstown” and the “Yellowstone” prequel “1883.” Sheridan is also working up a Sylvester Stallone mob drama called “Kansas City,” “Bass Reeves” with David Oyelowo, “Land Man” with Billy Bob Thornton, “Lioness” with Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana, and a show called “6666,” based on the historic Texas ranch that showed up in “Yellowstone” Season 4.
Paramount+ will also have some help from the sci-fi adventure “Halo.”
So it’s not all doom and gloom for Paramount+. On the other side of the pandemic, we may even see a slingshot effect as all the pent-up movies come out in a rapid clip. It’s also interesting that Paramount decided to bump “Mission: Impossible” given the success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ($1.6 billion worldwide so far). There’s clearly a demand for big movies on the big screen. But for now, Paramount is sitting it out.