More movie release delays spur concerns about NTTD

Movie release dates continue to get reset, which raises the question whether No Time to Die will meet its current release range of Sept. 30-Oct. 8.

The latest: According to Variety, Paramount has moved back Top Gun: Maverick to Nov. 19 from July 2. Mission: Impossible 7 has been delayed to May 27, 2022, from Nov. 19 of this year.

Previously, Walt Disney Co. announced that Black Widow was pushed back to July from early May. Black Widow, made by the company’s Marvel Studios’ unit, will be available on the Disney + streaming service for an extra charge of almost $30 while also opening in theaters.

Last week, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, had an investor call but said almost nothing about No Time To Die. MGM simply listed the 25th James Bond film — the company’s most expensive movie of the past two years — as one of many films in MGM’s schedule.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with movie release dates for more than a year. Vaccines are now available. But COVID cases are accelerating yet again because of new versions of the virus.

M:I 7-8 director announces casting

Christopher McQuarrie, director of the last two Mission: Impossible movies, is active on social media. He used his Instagram account to announce some casting moves for the seventh and eighth movies in the spy film series.

McQuarrie said Cary Elwes, Mark Gatliss, Indira Varma, Charles Parnell, and Rob Delaney are in the cast of M:I 7 and 8. No details about their roles. The director included head shots. Delaney is wearing a military uniform.

Originally, the two movies were to be filmed back to back. But the Deadline website reported in February that production of M:I 8 has been pushed back while star Tom Cruise promotes Top Gun Maverick.

M:I 7’s theatrical window shortened

A stunt from Mission: Impossible-Fallout

Mission: Impossible 7 will go to the revamped Paramount Plus service after just 45 days of theatrical release, Variety reported. The traditional theatrical window has been 90 days.

The move covers other Paramount movies, according to Variety.

The development is yet another example of the crumbling of the traditional 90-day theatrical window between a movie’s debut and it becoming available in some form of home video.

AT&T’s Warner Bros. for its theatrical releases this year is making new movies available simultaneously in theaters and AT&T’s HBO Max. Other studios are trying to figure out how to deal with the tsunami of streaming that’s engulfing the movie business.

Here’s an excerpt from Variety’s story about Paramount:

Those films will debut exclusively in theaters as planned. However, the studio has newly shorten the amount of time they will play exclusively on the big screen. After 45 days, new Paramount theatrical films will debut on the streaming service Paramount Plus. As part of the arrangement, Paramount has adjusted its pay TV output deal with Epix in order to bolster movie offerings on the nascent streaming service. Along with new releases, Paramount Plus will offer a deep library of more than 2,500 films.

Epix is a premium channel owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio.

You shouldn’t read too much into this. MGM is in hock to the tune of almost $290 million for No Time to Die. MGM has its own hard decisions in the new era — all while the studio is up for sale.

Rather, you should view this news as yet another indicator of how the movie business is in turmoil generally.

M:I 7, 8 no longer shooting back-to-back, Deadline says

Tom Cruise hasn’t had such luck combatting COVID-19.

The seventh and eighth Mission: Impossible films are no longer filming back-to-back, the Deadline entertainment website reported.

M:I 7 has run into delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, M:I star-producer Tom Cruise has other duties.

“Sources said this is simply down to the shifting release calendar,” according to Deadline. Cruise “will now be needed on promotional duties by the studio for Top Gun: Maverick ahead of that film’s planned release on July 2, and will be out of action for a period. Once that film has rolled out – hopefully to packed cinemas in a post-Covid world – production on MI: 8 can begin, meaning the gap shouldn’t be too impactful.”

Over the weekend, the U.K. Sun tabloid reported that M:I 7 had been forced to cut short production in the Middle East for COVID-related reasons. Director Christopher McQuarrie appeared to dispute that in an Instagram post. “Now back to London for a few finishing touches. All aboard for our greatest challenge yet…” the director wrote.

Paramount’s original plan was to film two M:I films at once so they could be released a year apart. Marvel Studios did something similar with two Avengers movies released in 2018 and 2019. At one time, Bonds 24 and 25 were to do the same thing. But star Daniel Craig vetoed such a move. Bond 24 became SPECTRE. Bond 25, years later, is on hold as No Time to Die.

M:I 7 hit with setback, Sun says

Tom Cruise

Production of Mission: Impossible 7 was forced to end filming in the Middle East in a setback for the film, the U.K. tabloid Sun reported. The production has been trying to make a fall release date amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

An excerpt from the Sun:

Production staff demanded they were allowed to head back to the UK this weekend before hotel quarantine rules come into effect on Monday.

Studio bosses have now had to charter a private jet to bring them home because they were up in arms about not being able to return to their families.

A movie insider said: “The whole production has hit yet another issue and there have been revolts among the cast and crew.”

M:I 7, starring and produced by Tom Cruise, currently has a November release date. The disruption raises the possibility of a delay. No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film, has an October release date.

An M:I 7 delay would eliminate direct competition between the two spy-fi productions. As things now stand, No Time to Die comes out Oct. 8 in the U.S. followed by M:I 7 six weeks later.

Tom Cruise exposes an entertainment fault line

Tom Cruise, who probably not smiling when he yelled at the MI:7 crew

This week, the U.K. tabloid The Sun came out with a story about how Mission: Impossible 7 star-producer Tom Cruise yelled at crew members concerning how they didn’t take proper precautions for COVID-19.

Cruise’s language (including “motherfuckers”) got most of the attention. But Cruise’s other comments probably were more far-reaching.

Hollywood, Cruise said, is “making movies right now because of us,” the actor said. “I’m on the phone with every fucking studio at night, insurance companies, producers, and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies.”

Mission: Impossible 7, being made back-to-back with Mission: Impossible 8, is one of the biggest movie projects being filmed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. M:I 7 already has had COVID delays.

Millions of dollars are stake. Also, the movie industry is in flux because of streaming services. Warner Bros., now owned by AT&T, is going all in on streaming. Warner Bros. entire 2021 film slate will debut in the U.S. on HBO Max while also showing on theaters.

As a result, M:I 7 has even more riding on its shoulders.

“Do you understand the responsibility that you have?” Cruise told crew members, according to a recording of Cruise obtained by The Sun. “Because I will deal with your reason. And if you can’t be reasonable and I can’t deal with your logic, you’re fired.”

M:I 7 isn’t the only major movie project affected by COVID-19. The Batman incurred delays after its star, Robert Pattinson, came down with the virus.

Still, Cruise as a star-producer, has gravitas on the subject. He’s the closest thing to an old-time movie star in the 21st century. At 58, his days as a leading man may be running out. His M:I film series has been underway since 1996.

What’s more, COVID-19 continues to ravage many regions around the globe. Many people don’t believe the virus is real, or isn’t that serious. It’s probably not what Cruise intended. But his sharply worded comments go beyond the entertainment world.

UPDATE (Dec. 17): The Sun is out with another story saying that five crew members quit Mission: Impossible 7 after Cruise yelled at the crew about the need to meet COVID-19 safety procedures.

Zimmer associate Balfe to score M:I 7-8

Tom Cruise

Lorne Balfe, one of Hans Zimmer’s group of Remote Control composers, will score Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, Film Music Reporter said.

The website cited the newest episode of the Light the Fuse podcast.

Balfe scored 2018’s Mission: Impossible-Fallout, the most recent M:I film starring and produced by Tom Cruise.

Balfe is one of more than 60 composers affiliated with Zimmer’s Remote Control company.

Another Remote Control composer is Steve Mazzaaro, who scored the non-Bond spy film The Rhythm Section produced by Eon Productions. On The Rhythm Section, Zimmer got the lead music credit for producing the music while Mazzaro had the secondary credit position for actually writing the music.

Mazzaro is assistant composer on No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film where Zimmer is lead composer.

Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 get pushed back

Tom Cruise

The release dates of Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 have been pushed back because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Variety reported.

The seventh installment of the film series with Tom Cruise is now scheduled for Nov. 19, 2021, delayed from July 23. The eighth movie in the series is now slated for Nov. 4, 2022, delayed from Aug. 5 of that year.

The new dates were announced by Paramount, one in a series of release date changes disclosed by the studio, Variety said.

The coronavirus has shut down movie theaters and other businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease. Various films have been affected, including No Time to Die, which is now set for a November release. It had been set to come out this month.

M:I 7 had been slated to be filming in Venice in February. Italy was hit hard by COVID-19 and filming was postponed.

Christopher McQuarrie, director of Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible-Fallout is directing M:I 7 and 8.

M:I 7 Venice shoot delayed by coronavirus

A stunt from Mission: Impossible-Fallout

Updated to note the Paramount statement.

Mission: Impossible 7’s Venice shoot is being delayed by the coronavirus, Variety reported, citing a Paramount statement.

The delay was reported earlier by the tabloid Daily Mail said.

Paramount said it was delaying the Venice shoot because of an “abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew,” according to Variety.

There has been an outbreak of more than150 cases of coronavirus in Italy and the Venice carnival was cut short, according to The New York Times.

Star-producer Tom Cruise arrived in Venice last week and was scheduled to begin filming, the Daily Mail said.

M:I 7 is scheduled to be released in 2021. It is to be filmed back-to-back with an eighth installment coming out in 2022. Recent Cruise M:I movies were written around locations and stunts.

The most recent M:I film, Mission: Impossible-Fallout, was a hectic affair, which included Cruise breaking his ankle doing a stunt. The production altered its schedule and some late filming occurred to make a summer 2018 release date.

An outbreak of coronavirus in China has caused a China premiere and publicity tour for No Time to Die in April to be canceled. The disease has shut down theaters in China.

McQuarrie discusses chaotic M:I story process

A stunt from Mission: Impossible-Fallout

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie talked about the chaotic story process underway for Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 in an interview on the 400th episode of the Empire Film Podcast.

McQuarrie said filming will begin soon, without providing a precise date. The two movies will be filmed back to back for release in 2021 and 2022.

The M:I films are written around stunts and locations. McQuarrie described the story process as coming up with 20-minute segments. According to the director, he recently moved around two segments from M:I 7 to M:I 8.

“I’m not kidding, a week ago…I realized we had too many 20-minute segments in our movie,” he said. “Suddenly, two 20-minute chunks came out of the movie and moved into the next movie — which I haven’t even started thinking about yet.

“That immediately defined what the end of the first movie was,” he added. “People have been asking me are these two movies connected, is it one movie, does it end on a cliffhanger? I don’t know.”

In fact, McQuarrie said he still hasn’t figured out the name of the character that actress Hayley Atwell will play in the films.

The director said star Tom Cruise won’t go into space in the two new movies.

“If I don’t button that up, I’ll be answering questions about it for the rest of my life,” he said. “He’s not going to space, nor does he need to go to space. We figured out three obscene things that he’s doing that I’m terrified of.”

McQuarrie, 51, wrote and directed Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible-Fallout.

Cruise, who turns 58 in July, is in training for the M:I films.

To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE. The McQuarrie interview starts just past the 2-hour mark.