Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise’s long-awaited return to the danger zone, had to take a few detours due to COVID-19.

When the pandemic hit, the sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” was supposed to open on June 24, 2020. Those plans had to be rearranged when theaters shuttered and moviegoing struggled to return. Now, at long last, Cruise was on hand in the South of France on Wednesday for the Cannes premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick,” a film that has earned critical raves and seems primed for box office riches. But did he ever think about sending the sequel to streaming, a fate that befell many other films during the early days of the coronavirus?

“That’s not going to happen. Ever,” Cruise said during a wide-ranging talk about his work at the festival.

The audience at the Grand Palais’ Debussy theater applauded loudly. Cruise explained further, “I’ve spent a lot of time with theater owners. The people that serve the popcorn, the ones who make this [happen].”

The actor said he called movie theater owners with a message: “Please, I know what you’re going through. Just know we are making ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Top Gun’ is coming out.”

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And Cruise was clear that he doesn’t design his movies to be streamed on Netflix or Amazon Prime. He wants the high-flying action to unfold on the widest canvas possible.

“I make movies for the big screen,” Cruise said.

The actor is one of those people checking out movies at the multiplex. Cruise told the Cannes crowd that he secretly goes to the movies “with my cap on” and sits “in the audience with everyone.”

Cruise has injected some serious star wattage into Cannes, with fans already lining up to catch a glimpse of the actor ahead of the film’s red carpet premiere.

Cruise is currently filming back-to-back “Mission: Impossible” sequels, which have been beset by mushrooming budgets and COVID-related production delays.

Matt Donnelly contributed to this report.