CinemaCon attendees had an action-packed morning, viewing footage from Paramount’s Tom Cruise starrers “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” Cruise didn’t appear in person, but was onscreen for Paramount’s presentation in Las Vegas on Thursday.
For “Mission: Impossible 7,” Cruise appeared in a behind-the-scenes featurette, describing the harrowing motorcycle stunt jumping off a mountain in Norway. He drives his motorcycle off a giant ramp, and then separates from the vehicle mid-air to parachute safely. Cruise explains in the video that the dangerous stunt requires hitting speed marks on the ramp with the lightweight motocross motorcycle, but “there is no speedometer so I do it by sound and sight.” The stunt was filmed six times.
Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic theatrical distribution, introduced the first 13 minutes of “Top Gun: Maverick,” along with a new trailer. The opening showed Cruise insisting on “one last ride” in the Mach 10, which he boards as evening falls in the desert. The opening sequence was well received by the CinemaCon exhibitors who responded to its action and touches of black humor.
Both films have been oft-delayed due to the pandemic. “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to bow in theaters on Nov. 19, while “Mission: Impossible 7” opens on May 27, 2022.
In the “Top Gun” sequel, Cruise reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, as he returns to flight school to train Top Gun graduates for a special mission. Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Monica Barbaro, Jon Hamm and Glen Powell co-star, with Val Kilmer returning as Maverick’s rival, Iceman.
“Mission: Impossible 7” shut down production in Italy at the beginning of the pandemic. After resuming in September 2020, production was shut down at least two additional times when crew members tested positive for COVID. Cruise was famously recorded shouting at the crew for breaking COVID protocols in December 2020.
Aronson served as the in-person ringmaster for the studio’s product reel that included screening animated family film “Clifford the Big Red Dog” in its entirety.
Turning to industry affairs, Aronson told exhibitors everyone experienced “conflict and unrest” because there is not a “clear path forward,” referencing the pandemic and release window shifts. “We won’t survive our mutual challenges” without cooperation, he concluded. Aronson made a plea for cinemas and Hollywood to adopt a “shared sense of purpose” to usher in “innovation, adaptation and change” as the media landscape evolves. He recalled pundits have frequently predicted the demise of cinema, “Yet at every turn, we have risen stronger than before.”
Aronson reminded exhibitors that Paramount was in their corner by releasing “A Quiet Place II” this past May as theatrical-only premiere without day-and-date streaming. That film hit $300 million worldwide so cinema-first “paid off in spades” though “that doesn’t mean that decision is the right decision for all films,” he said.
Aronson opened the presentation by driving onstage in person amid a puff of smoke on a faux rocket-powered golfcart like a daredevil stuntman. This played off a preceding recorded segment for zany action adventure “Jackass Forever,” which is dated for Oct. 22.
Aronson passed on greetings to exhibitors from studio chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, who normally would be in attendance. Aronson said that Gianopulos is absent this year because he is taking his daughter to start college.