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'Top Gun: Maverick' Streaming: How Long You'll Need to Wait

Top Gun: Maverick will stream on Paramount Plus eventually, but it'll stay in theaters exclusively until mid-July at least -- and almost certainly longer.

Tom Cruise, as pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, squints while wearing his flight suit
Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters -- and only theaters -- on May 27. 
Paramount

Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters in time for Memorial Day's kickoff of summer -- and riding the lift of glowing reviews and a surge of moviegoers flocking to big blockbusters, it's closing in on $1 billion at the box office worldwide. But the COVID-19 pandemic upended how quickly movies start streaming, and it seems like every new film follows a different timeline for when you'll be able to watch it at home. 

For Top Gun: Maverick, you may be waiting longer than the new normal.  

Where will Top Gun: Maverick stream? 

Top Gun: Maverick is expected to stream first on Paramount Plus. The movie is distributed by Paramount Pictures, which is owned by the same parent company as Paramount Plus.  

When is Top Gun: Maverick's streaming release date?

Paramount hasn't yet confirmed a streaming release date for the Top Gun sequel, and until it does, predicting the streaming release date is difficult. Understanding the company's past practice can help make educated guesses about when it'll be available to stream -- but the company has already said Top Gun: Maverick will be following different rules. 

For movies similar to Top Gun, Paramount has tended to give them at least 45 days exclusively in theaters before making them available to stream on Paramount Plus. If Top Gun: Maverick follows a 45-day timeline, it'll become available to stream roughly around July 9. 

But Paramount doesn't make films available to stream like clockwork. February theatrical release Jackass Forever, March's The Lost City and April's Sonic the Hedgehog 2 all hit Paramount Plus on the 46th day after they hit theaters. But another recent Paramount movie -- Scream, which hit theaters late last year -- took roughly a week longer, at about 53 days. 

And Paramount is likely to keep Top Gun: Maverick in theaters longer than those other recent movies. 

In May, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish indicated Top Gun: Maverick wouldn't follow the 45-day timeline to Paramount Plus, according to a report by the New York Times. He was echoing comments by the company's financial chief a couple weeks earlier. "There are certain movies that are really made for the theatrical experience. Top Gun is a great example of that," CFO Naveen Chopra said at an investor conference. "You should see that movie in a theater, and it will stay in the theater for a longer period of time." 

Until Paramount confirms a date, it's hard to predict when the streaming release will be. 

Will it be 'free' to stream? 

Paramount Plus has never charged an extra fee to watch a movie on its service. And even though it has two different tiers, it's never "paywalled" a movie behind the higher-priced membership level. 

But Paramount Plus requires a paid subscription, so nothing on the service is literally free -- unless you watch it while you're signed up on a free trial. Paramount Plus offers a seven-day free trial standard for all new members.