Variety reported on May 24 that Joseph Kosinski — who directed Cruise in “Oblivion” — was the frontrunner to direct “Top Gun 2” for Paramount and Skydance Pictures.
Skydance CEO David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the 1986 original, will produce with Cruise. This latest project will be set in a world of drone technology and fifth generation fighters along with exploring the end of the era of dogfighting.
Cruise said recently the title would be “Top Gun: Maverick” although Paramount listed the title Friday only as “Top Gun.” “Maverick” was Cruise’s character’s nickname in the film in which he played Naval aviator Lt. Pete Mitchell.
The movie is the first title to land on the July 12, 2019, release date. It will open a week after Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” sequel.
The original film, directed by the late Tony Scott and set at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, was a massive hit with more than $350 million in worldwide grosses. Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, Tom Skeritt and Anthony Edwards also starred in the original, in which the protagonists flew the F14A Tomcat. Kilmer has said he’d like to return for the sequel in the role of Tom “Iceman” Kazanski.
Cruise had been working with Tony Scott on the sequel before the director’s demise in 2012. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected “Top Gun” for preservation in the National Film Registry as one of the 25 films named annually that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
Cruise met with potential directors for the “Top Gun” sequel earlier this year prior to and while filming “Mission: Impossible 6” in London. “Oblivion” was a success for Cruise and Kosinski, bringing in $286 million worldwide.
Friday’s dating announcement comes three months after former 20th Century Fox Film chief Jim Gianopulos was brought in by parent Viacom as Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO with the aim of cranking up the studio’s lagging film operations.