Rosselini. Buñuel. Kurosawa. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell?
Well, in addition to the masterpieces of world cinema, the Cannes Film Festival has a long history of launching and celebrating populist movies. (The little area beside the Palais de Festivals et des Congrès doesn’t just have a carousel and baguette carts, it’s got weather-beaten photo-op standees of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman as Anakin and Padmé.) To that end, it was announced Monday that this May’s soirée sur le Boulevard de la Croisette, the 74th Cannes Film Festival, will host Tom Cruise and “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The long delayed spectacle from Paramount and director Joseph Kosinski, with a screenplay from Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarry, started production back in May 2018, shot in IMAX at various flyboy locales like Pax River, Maryland, and China Lake, California. The coronavirus pandemic scrubbed the release date on several locations, but Cruise and company stood firm: this was to be exhibited theatrically, not dumped to streaming.
The sequel to the 1980s megahit comes to theaters over the Memorial Day weekend (May 27 is its North American debut) which works perfectly for an international premiere at the biggest movie party on the planet. Cannes kicks off on May 17.
Oftentimes, big Hollywood movies that are just about to open worldwide play at Cannes out-of-competition, and that will likely be the case here. But never count out Cannes or its director Thierry Frémaux for doing the unexpected. Perhaps Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and a bunch of guys in clean uniforms calling each other “Ace” will end up in the awards mix with other expected films from Kelly Reichardt, Ruben Östlund, David Cronenberg, or Alejandro González Iñárritu. The official program has yet to be announced.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, this will be the first Cruise film to play at Cannes since “Far and Away,” 30 years ago.
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