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'Top Gun' movie sequel moved to December as coronavirus hits home

'Top Gun: Maverick,' starring Tom Cruise, was originally scheduled to open in movie theaters worldwide on 24 June more than 30 years after the original movie launched his career as a global action star.

Tom Cruise makes a surprise appearance to discuss "Top Gun: Maverick" during 2019 Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on 18 July 2019 in San Diego, California. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - The release of the much anticipated movie sequel to Top Gun has been moved to December, Paramount Pictures said on Thursday, the latest disruption in the movie industry caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Top Gun: Maverick, starring Tom Cruise, was originally scheduled to open in movie theaters worldwide on 24 June more than 30 years after the original movie launched his career as a global action star.

The delay to 23 December was the latest in a series of blockbuster movies that have been delayed, including the new James Bond film Never Say Die and Disney’s Mulan, because of the coronavirus that has closed movie theaters in the United States and much of Europe and Asia.

Top Gun: Maverick, picks up decades after the 1986 box-office hit and features actor Miles Teller as the son of Anthony Edwards’ pilot Goose, who is killed during a training exercise in the first movie.

Most of the big movies that make up the lucrative summer season in North America have been postponed. But Hollywood studios are hopeful theaters will reopen and crowds will return in late summer.

Paramount said on Thursday that the animated The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, previously scheduled for a May release, would now open on 31 July.

Wonder Woman 1984 from Warner Bros has also been rescheduled from June to 14 August.