Opinion | Why the Producer of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Is Betting Big on Theaters

Produced by ‘Sway’

“Top Gun: Maverick” is expected to be one of the first blockbusters of the summer. But as streaming platforms proliferate and movie theaters continue to struggle, is a movie that was designed to be seen on the biggest screen possible be able to lure audiences back to theaters? David Ellison thinks so. He’s the founder and C.E.O. of Skydance Media, the company behind the film, as well as other action franchise reboots like “Mission: Impossible” and “Terminator.”

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In this conversation, Kara Swisher talks to Ellison about working with Tom Cruise, who learned how to pilot planes for “Top Gun: Maverick.” She digs into how Ellison’s heritage (he’s the son of the billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison) factored into his future as a filmmaker and the advice he got from his dad’s friend Steve Jobs. And David Ellison responds to Kara’s question about the news that his father joined a November 2020 phone call with Senator Lindsey Graham and Sean Hannity, among others, about contesting Trump’s loss.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Credit…Courtesy of Skydance

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Caitlin O’Keefe and Wyatt Orme and edited by Nayeema Raza; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.