Paramount Feels The Need For Speed And Moves Up 'Top Gun: Maverick' Release Date; 'Escape Room 2' Delayed Until December

Goodness gracious, great balls of fire: Paramount has decided to let Top Gun: Maverick take flight two days earlier than previously announced. The long-awaited sequel to Tony Scott's 1986 classic will now cruise into theaters on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 instead of on Friday, June 26. Meanwhile, over at Sony, that studio has delayed the horror sequel Escape Room 2 yet again, booting it all the way back to December 30, 2020.

Deadline reports that Top Gun: Maverick will launch two days earlier than anticipated, although we probably should have seen this coming since the company has done similar things with summer tentpoles in the past. It's a smart move, considering how Universal's animated sequel Trolls World Tour, Warner Bros.' musical adaptation of In the Heights, Illumination Entertainment's animated Minions: The Rise of Gru, and Ryan Reynolds' video game comedy Free Guy are all coming out on July 3, so this should give Maverick a little more room to fly until bigger competition rolls in. This is one of our most anticipated movies of 2020, so regardless of the reasoning for its release date shift, I'm just glad it'll be opening sooner than we thought.

The first Escape Room made more than $155 million worldwide on a budget of just $9 million when it opened in 2019, causing Sony to instantly greenlight a sequel. Escape Room 2 was initially supposed to open on April 17, 2020, but it was bumped back to August 14. Now it's been moved again – all the way back to December 30. The late summer release date made it seem as if the studio was proud of what they had and was positioning it for success. But releasing it in an end-of-the-year holiday slot when films like Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake, Denis Villeneuve's take on Dune, the Paul Greengrass-directed Tom Hanks movie News of the World, the Ridley Scott historical thriller The Last Duel, DreamWorks Animation's The Croods 2, and the Chris Pratt sci-fi joint The Tomorrow War will all be in theaters feels like it's setting this movie up to fail. Unless, of course, it's been reimagined as an awards movie, which would necessitate a December 30 release for a qualifying run so it can be voted on by the Academy for next year's Oscars. Yeah. That one sounds right.

Perhaps they're thinking Escape Room 2 will serve as counter-programming? My first thought was that someone at Sony may have simply decided that capturing bored audiences in January worked for the original, so it'll work again for the sequel. But Deadline points out that the coronavirus could very well still be a major concern internationally at that point, and 22% of Escape Room's box office totals came from China, so it's a smart move to hold the sequel's release in the hopes that the virus has been contained by then.