The Cannes Film Festival on Friday confirmed the worst-kept secret of this year’s edition: that Top Gun: Maverick, the long-delayed sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise actioner, will screen as part of Cannes’ 75th-anniversary edition.

“Tom Cruise will be in attendance in Cannes on May 18, 2022 for the screening of Top Gun: Maverick, scheduled for release on May 25 in France and May 27 in the U.S.,” organizers said. “The festival will also pay a special tribute to Tom Cruise for his career.”

The star will have an on-stage conversation with journalist Didier Allouch in the afternoon and will later that day “walk up the steps of the Palais des Festivals for the evening screening,” the festival said.

It noted that the star “has made only one (Cannes festival) appearance before, on May 18, 1992, for Ron Howard’s Far and Away, the closing film of the 45th festival. That evening, he had awarded the Palme d’or to director Bille August for his film The Best Intentions.”

Withthe film screening and Cruise appearing at the fest 30 years to the day after he last attended it, Top Gun 2 has become something of a symbol of the disruption wrought on the film industry by the COVID pandemic. The release of the hotly-anticipated sequel, from Paramount and Skydance, was pushed back multiple times due to the pandemic. Initially slated for a July 12, 2019 bow, the movie was first moved to June 26, 2020, then to December 23, 2022, to July 2, 2021, November 19, 2021, and finally to its current North American release on May 27 this year after rolling out internationally earlier that week.

The film is a major get for Cannes, which is framing this year’s festival as a celebratory return to cinema after two years of COVID restrictions and theater lockdowns. The festival, which runs May 17-28, is also keen to re-establish its position as the go-to platform for tentpole and award-season releases after losing ground in the past two years to Venice, which hosted such Oscar favorites as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.

Top Gun 2 isn’t the only high-profile title expected to touch down in Cannes this year. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic, starring Austin Butler as The King with a cast that also includes Tom Hanks, and Power of the Dog’s Kodi Smit-McPhee is tipped to be the 2022 opening night film (Luhrmann opened Cannes in spectacular fashion with both Moulin Rouge! in 2001 and The Great Gatsby in 2013) and new movies from acclaimed directors David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future), Florian Zeller (The Son), and Wes Anderson (Asteroid City) are expected to be in Cannes competition this year.

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