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SYFY WIRE Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Release date shuffle: MI: 7, Top Gun 2 fly to 2022; Ghostbusters: Afterlife slides to Thanksgiving

By Benjamin Bullard
Ghostbusters Afterlife #3

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us about scheduling, it’s this: Never mark your movie calendars in permanent ink. With the days ticking toward the planned Nov. 11 debut of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Paramount and Sony are once more shuffling their release-date rosters for a trio of upcoming blockbusters.

Yep, via The Hollywood Reporter, no fewer than three big-name films are getting the schedule-shifting treatment, which means it’s pretty much time to throw out our carefully marked datebooks and start again from scratch. No worries, though: the new lineup gives each movie — as well as other films that are staying put like Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — plenty of opening-weekend breathing room to space things out.

So what’s changing? Ghostbusters: Afterlife is still coming to theaters the soonest, but Sony is pushing the Jason Reitman-directed slime-fest a week beyond its original Nov. 11 release, giving the film a new debut date of Nov. 19. That’s the pre-Thanksgiving spot originally slated for Tom Cruise’s theatrical fly-in with Top Gun: Maverick — but Paramount revealed today that both Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7 (and Cruise right along with them) are moving much farther down the calendar.

Cruise’s two big tentpoles are now getting new debut dates that push them well into 2022. Top Gun: Maverick is moving from its original Nov. 19 debut all the way to a May 27 Memorial Day weekend release. That leaves Mission: Impossible 7 — originally set to hit theaters on that same May 27, 2022 date —  with a four-month scoot down the timeline, all the way to its newly-announced Sept. 30, 2022 release.

The new Ghostbusters date gives our paranormal super-troopers a release weekend nice and insulated from the tail-end box office turnout for Shang-Chi (releasing Sept. 3) and Venom 2 (releasing Oct. 15) — all without having to go head-to-head with Cruise’s Top Gun box office firepower. With moviegoers showing early signs of box office support for new releases like Candyman (which opened in the No. 1 spot over this past weekend), maybe the idea is for each big upcoming blockbuster to give the others a wide berth.

Will theaters get a break this fall and return to their busy, pre-pandemic groove? Keep an eye on the upcoming Oct. 22 weekend, when Denis Villeneuve’s epic Dune adaptation debuts only a week after Ghostbusters: Afterlife comes wheeling ‘round the bend. With any luck, a bountiful fall box office that fields multiple big hits could clear a nice runway for Top Gun and more blockbusters by springtime. Fingers crossed, it’ll be a movie mission that proves anything but impossible.