Top Gun: Maverick

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Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun Maverick Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Kosinski
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyClaudio Miranda
Edited by
Music by
Production
companies
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
Running time
131 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$170 million[2]
Box office$1.017 billion[3][4]

Top Gun: Maverick is a 2022 American action drama film directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, from a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks. The sequel to Top Gun (1986) and the second installment in the Top Gun film series, the film stars Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell reprising his role from the original, alongside Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer. Set 36 years after its predecessor, it follows Maverick's reluctant return to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, where he must confront his past as he trains a group of younger aviators, among them the son of Maverick's deceased best friend.

Development on a Top Gun sequel was announced in 2010 by Paramount Pictures. Cruise and Kilmer were approached to return in their roles from the original, as were producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott. By mid-2012 a draft of the screenplay was finished. However, on August 19 of that year, Scott committed suicide and the film's pre-production was put on hold.[5][6] The film is dedicated to Scott's memory. In June 2017, Kosinski was hired and wrote a new draft of the script. Principal photography took place from May 2018 to April 2019 in California, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The film was shot using IMAX-certified 6K full-frame cameras. Its release was initially scheduled for July 12, 2019, but was delayed first by efforts to shoot several complex action sequences, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic and scheduling conflicts.[7]

Top Gun: Maverick premiered at CinemaCon on April 28, 2022, and was theatrically released in the United States on IMAX, 4DX,[8] ScreenX[9] and Dolby Cinema[10] on May 27, 2022, by Paramount Pictures. It will also be released on Paramount+ after its theatrical run.[11][12] The film was released to widespread critical acclaim, with many reviewers deeming it superior to its predecessor.[13] The film has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2022, the second film released during the COVID-19 pandemic to gross $1 billion, and the highest-grossing film of Cruise's career.

Plot

Over three decades after his time at TOPGUN,[b] Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is serving as a U.S. Navy test pilot. One day, Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain approaches to shut down the hypersonic "Darkstar" scramjet program and redirect the funds to drone programs. Maverick flies the prototype to its speed objective, then pushes further into high-hypersonic speed, destroying it. Cain wants to ground Maverick for his recklessness but instead sends him to NAS North Island as an instructor under the orders of his friend and former TOPGUN[c] rival, Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, now the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Maverick is ordered to train an elite group of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aviators assembled by Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson and Rear Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates for an urgent mission, which is to bomb a foreign country's unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant. The plant sits in a deep depression at the end of a canyon and is defended by surface-to-air missiles and fifth-generation Su-57 fighters[d] operating from a nearby air base. Maverick plans an attack with two pairs of Super Hornets which will fly through a canyon and destroy the plant, and reluctantly accepts the order. The aviators initially rebuff Maverick, particularly Lieutenant Jake "Hangman" Seresin and Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Maverick's late best friend and RIO Nick "Goose" Bradshaw.

As the aviators train for the mission, friction develops between Hangman and Rooster, who resents Hangman's cavalier attitude towards his wingmen, while Hangman criticizes Rooster's caution. Maverick also reunites with former girlfriend Penny Benjamin, to whom he reveals that Rooster's now-dead mother made him promise to keep her son from flying, and blocked Rooster's application to the Naval Academy, setting back his career. Maverick later meets with Iceman, who has throat cancer and primarily communicates by typing on a computer. Reassuring Maverick about teaching the team, he dies days later, and Maverick along with the aviators attend his funeral where a missing man formation is observed. With Iceman gone, Cyclone removes Maverick as mission trainer and sets new parameters that are less risky on approach but riskier on exit. However, Maverick makes an unauthorized flight of the simulated course with the original parameters, proving that it could be done. Cyclone is convinced and reluctantly appoints Maverick as strike leader.

Maverick chooses the mission team and pairs himself with Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace and her WSO Lieutenant Robert "Bob" Floyd, while Rooster is paired with Lieutenant Reuben "Payback" Fitch and his WSO Lieutenant Mickey "Fanboy" Garcia. Hangman and the remaining aviators are put on standby. The team launches from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt while the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf fires Tomahawk cruise missiles to destroy the air base near the plant. The team reaches the plant and destroys it, and gets engaged by surface-to-air missiles. Rooster runs out of countermeasures, and Maverick sacrifices his jet to ensure Rooster's safety and ejects. Believing Maverick to be killed in action, the remaining aviators are ordered to return to the carrier. Rooster turns back instinctively to save Maverick from an Mi-24 helicopter gunship, but gets shot down by another surface-to-air missile and ejects nearby. The two reunite and head towards the destroyed airbase, where they steal an F-14 Tomcat and head back to the carrier. Maverick and Rooster shoot down two intercepting Su-57s, but a third arrives as they run out of ammunition and countermeasures. Hangman arrives from standby to shoot down the Su-57 and the planes return to cheers on the carrier, where Maverick and Rooster reconcile.

Sometime after the mission, Maverick and Rooster work together on a P-51 Mustang at a hangar near the test facility where Maverick was previously stationed. Penny arrives with her daughter Amelia, and Maverick takes her for a ride in the P-51. Rooster walks to a photo board and acknowledges a photo of their mission's success, alongside a photo of his late father and a young Maverick.

Cast

  • Tom Cruise as CAPT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a test pilot and flight instructor, training a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission.[15]
  • Miles Teller as LT Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, an F/A-18E pilot in the mission training group. He is the son of Maverick's late RIO and best friend, LTJG Nick "Goose", and Carole Bradshaw. Rooster was previously portrayed by twins Aaron and Adam Weis in Top Gun in uncredited roles.
  • Jennifer Connelly as Penelope "Penny" Benjamin, Maverick's rekindled love interest, who is a single mother, a bar owner, and the daughter of a former admiral[e]
  • Jon Hamm as VADM Beau "Cyclone" Simpson, the commander of Naval Air Forces
  • Glen Powell as LT Jake "Hangman" Seresin, an F/A-18E pilot and mission candidate
  • Lewis Pullman as LT Robert "Bob" Floyd, Phoenix's F/A-18F WSO and mission candidate
  • Ed Harris as RADM Chester "Hammer" Cain, Maverick's superior and head of the Darkstar program.[16]
  • Val Kilmer as ADM Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, former rival, and a close friend of Maverick's.
  • Charles Parnell as RADM Solomon "Warlock" Bates, the commander of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center and an acquaintance of Maverick's.
  • Monica Barbaro as LT Natasha "Phoenix" Trace, an F/A-18F pilot and mission candidate
  • Jay Ellis as LT Reuben "Payback" Fitch, an F/A-18F pilot and mission candidate
  • Danny Ramirez as LT Mickey "Fanboy" Garcia, Payback's F/A-18F WSO and mission candidate
  • Greg Tarzan Davis as LT Javy "Coyote" Machado, an F/A-18E pilot and mission candidate
  • Bashir Salahuddin as CWO4 Bernie "Hondo" Coleman, a friend of Maverick's
  • Manny Jacinto as LT Billy "Fritz" Avalone, an F/A-18E pilot and mission candidate
  • Raymond Lee as LT Logan "Yale" Lee, an F/A-18F pilot and mission candidate
  • Jake Picking as LT Brigham "Harvard" Lennox, Yale's F/A-18F WSO and mission candidate
  • Jack Schumacher as LT Neil "Omaha" Vikander, an F/A-18F pilot and mission candidate
  • Kara Wang as LT Callie "Halo" Bassett, Omaha's F/A-18F WSO and mission candidate
  • Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin, Penny's daughter.
  • Jean Louisa Kelly as Sarah Kazansky, Iceman's wife
  • James Handy as Jimmy, an old man, bartender, and friend of unknown origin

Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, and Kelly McGillis appear as Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, Carole Bradshaw, and Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood via archive footage from Top Gun.

Production

Development

In 1990, during the promotion of Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Tom Cruise dismissed the notion of a sequel to Top Gun as "irresponsible".[17] Development of the film began in 2010 when Paramount Pictures made offers to Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott to make a sequel to Top Gun, with Tom Cruise reprising his role. When asked about his idea for a new Top Gun film, Scott replied, "This world fascinated me, because it's so different from what it was originally. But I don't want to do a remake. I don't want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie."[18] The film was reported to focus on the end of the dogfighting era[19] and the role of drones in modern aerial warfare[20] and that Cruise's character, Maverick, will fly an F/A-18 Super Hornet.[21] After Scott's suicide in 2012, the sequel's future remained in question, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer remained committed to the project, especially given Cruise's and Kilmer's interest.[22]

In June 2017, Cruise revealed that the sequel would be titled as Top Gun: Maverick, as he "did not need a number in all sequel titles".[23] He added that the film is "going to be a competition film, similar to the first one", but clarified it as "a progression for Maverick".[24][25] By July 2017, Joseph Kosinski was announced as the director, after previously collaborating with Cruise on Oblivion (2013).[26][27] Kosinski met with Cruise on the set of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, providing a lookbook, a poster, and a title, Top Gun: Maverick, prior to his hiring. Cruise then contacted Jim Gianopulos and requested to make the film.[28] On June 19, 2019, at CineEurope in Barcelona, attendees were able to watch for the first time some early footage of the film from a special Paramount presentation. During the presentation the President of International Theatrical Distribution Mark Viane and co-president of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution Mary Daily appeared in flight clothes, as a part of promotion.[29] In 2019, China's Tencent invested 12.5% of the film, but later pulled out of the project at the end of that year over concerns that the film's themes could anger the Chinese Communist Party.[30]

Writing

By mid-2010, Christopher McQuarrie received an offer to write the sequel's screenplay, which was rumored to have Cruise's character Maverick in a smaller role.[31] The following year, Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz were credited as screenwriters on the project.[32] The studio would later move onto Peter Craig to draft a new script under Scott's direction in March 2012.[33] However, the project was unexpectedly stalled due to Scott's suicide in August of that year.[34] In March 2014, Bruckheimer said the filmmakers were taking a new approach, which involved pilots being rendered obsolete by drones.[35] In September 2014, the sequel was officially revived with Justin Marks entering negotiations to write the screenplay.[36] Marks claimed that the sequel for Top Gun was his "dream project" and that the first film was "an iconic film in his memory" which inspired him to pursue his film career.[37] He researched the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35, for the Maverick’s script to give an insight of "how Top Gun would be represented in the current period".[37]

"Maverick in that film was in his early twenties and now he's in his fifties. It had to be a different journey, but it was important it was a journey for a man at a different part of his life. We think of Top Gun as an action film, but I think of it as a drama. It has some incredible action scenes in it, but there is a drama at the center of it."

— Kosinski, on the new script of Top Gun 2.[38]

Prior to his death, Scott had apparently finalized the script and began scouting locations. He and Cruise had toured Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, a week prior for research purposes.[39] The Hollywood Reporter stated the Top Gun sequel was one of three directing projects in "advanced development".[40]

During scripting discussions in Paris, where Cruise was shooting for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Kosinski pitched two ideas to Cruise.[41] The first, about the emotional core of the film, focused on the severed relationship between Maverick and Goose's son, set against a dangerous combat mission. The second focused on Maverick's current place in the Navy as part of the "Darkstar" program and the secrecy surrounding it.[41] With Kosinski in place as director, Only the Brave screenwriter Eric Warren Singer boarded the film to rewrite the script by August 2017.[42][43] In October 2018, McQuarrie, a frequent collaborator of Cruise, was brought in for rewrites during production.[44] McQuarrie opted to mostly ignore the first film during the writing process and even flew with the Blue Angels in preparation.[45] By January 2020, final screenplay credits were given to Ehren Kruger, Singer, and McQuarrie, while story credit was attributed to Craig and Marks.[46][47]

According to University of Georgia Professor Roger Stahl, open record requests have revealed that United States military officials were allowed to make changes to Top Gun: Maverick, including the insertion of "key talking points" such as foreign policy and recruitment. A top U.S. military recruiter told Fox News that "We want to take advantage of the opportunity to connect not just the movie and the idea of a military service, but the fact that we've got jobs and we've got recruiters waiting for them."[48]

Casting

Cruise's involvement in Top Gun: Maverick was first announced in January 2016.[49] Val Kilmer had campaigned on his Facebook page to reprise his role in the film,[50] and by June 2018, The Wrap reported that he would appear in the film.[51] While Bruckheimer and the filmmakers wanted to bring Kilmer back, Cruise was the one who insisted in allowing Kilmer to reprise his role.[52] A trailer released in March 2022, featured a photograph of Kilmer wearing a uniform of a four-star admiral. In July 2018, Miles Teller was cast in the role of Goose's son, against Nicholas Hoult and Glen Powell. All three were flown to Cruise's home for chemistry tests.[53] Later that month, Jennifer Connelly joined the film's cast to play a single mother running a bar near the naval base.[54][55]

In August 2018, Powell joined the cast of the film in a pilot trainee role that was enlarged for him, having impressed Cruise, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and executives at Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media, with his auditions.[56] That same month, Monica Barbaro, Thomasin McKenzie, Charles Parnell, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Danny Ramirez, Ed Harris, Jon Hamm and Lewis Pullman joined the cast of the film with Barbaro, Ellis, and Ramirez portraying aviator trainees and McKenzie portraying Connelly's daughter.[57][58][59] Hamm signed onto the film before he was even given an official offer or script.[60] In September 2018, Manny Jacinto joined the cast.[61] In October 2018, Kara Wang, Jack Schumacher, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jake Picking, Raymond Lee, Jean Louisa Kelly and Lyliana Wray joined the cast, with Wray replacing McKenzie.[62] McKenzie dropped out of the film after signing onto Lost Girls.[63] In November 2018, Chelsea Harris joined the cast in an undisclosed role.[64] Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan, who both appeared in the original film together, were not asked to appear in the sequel.[65][66]

Filming

To create the illusion that the actors were actually piloting the jets during flying scenes, the producers paid the Navy $11,374 per flight hour for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and pilots to fly them.[67] At least one F/A-18F was rigged with special cameras to film an actor in the back seat. Cruise designed a unique three-month "boot camp" to train the actors with flying roles to get them used to aerobatics and high g-forces, and to build the spatial awareness they would need to operate the camera equipment. Some of the training was required by the Navy for passengers in tactical jets, including underwater evacuation.[68] Barbaro said the cast endured aerobatics riding in the Extra 300L flown by Chuck Coleman, including right before flights in the F/A-18F, to ensure their bodies had the required tolerance.[69] The actors also had to learn lighting, cinematography, and editing to properly run the cameras, because, as Bruckheimer put it, "when they're up in the jet they have to direct themselves essentially."[70]

Preliminary production on the film officially started on May 30, 2018, in San Diego, California.[71][72] During late August a 15-person film crew from Paramount and Bruckheimer Films were aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to shoot flight deck operations.[73][74] In mid-February 2019, Cruise and the production crew were sighted on board USS Theodore Roosevelt at NAS North Island.[75] In March, filming was completed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington.[76] On June 19, 2019, Miles Teller revealed in an interview that he had finished filming two days earlier.[77] Principal photography was scheduled until April 15, 2019, in San Diego, Lemoore, China Lake,[78] Chico,[79] and Lake Tahoe in California;[80] Seattle, Washington;[81] and Pax River, Maryland.[82] The post-production and editing works were supervised by Kosinski, at his home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.[83]

The film was shot in IMAX format using IMAX-Certified Sony Venice 6K Full Frame cameras.[84] Kosinski explained that the team spent more than a year with Navy forces to use the IMAX cameras inside the cockpit, with four cameras facing toward the actors and two facing forward, in addition to cameras mounted all over the exteriors of the aircraft. He explained that "the audience should feel the authenticity, strain, speed and gravitational forces, something that cannot be achieved through soundstage or visual effects, which needed a tremendous amount of effort and work."[38] He added that more than 800 hours of footage has been shot for the film, exceeding the combined footage shot for the films in the Lord of The Rings trilogy.[85] Aerial footage was also recorded using modified Aero L-39 Albatros jets with cameras on their noses.[86]

Design

The fictional "Darkstar" aircraft, partially based on the unmanned Lockheed Martin SR-72, was designed with the assistance of engineers from Lockheed Martin and its Skunk Works division. A full-scale mockup of the aircraft was built and filmed at China Lake.[87] Kosinski, in an interview with Sandboxx, said that "The reason we approached Skunk Works is because I wanted to make the most realistic hypersonic aircraft we possibly could. In fact, as you saw, we built it full-scale in cooperation with them. But the reason it looks so real is because it was the engineers from Skunk Works who helped us design it. So those are the same people who are working on real aircraft who helped us design Darkstar for this film."[88]

Production designer Jeremy Hindle stated that using the F-14 Tomcat from the first film was difficult, as "There are no F-14s that fly because they [have been decommissioned in the U.S.] and all the engines have been taken out of them."[89] He also added that six active F-14 Tomcats are in Iran, and were not able to be used. The team with help from the Navy secured one F-14A from the San Diego Air & Space Museum in California.[90] Hindle described further challenges, including dismantling and shipping the plane's components, and making the aircraft as functional as possible, though still without engines.[89] For other planes including the F/A-18F, they acquired 20 working aircraft from all over the country.[89]

Hindle, said that Kosinski had made specifications for every detail to be designed, including the helmets, suits, props and several others. An old military bar was constructed in the beach side in Los Angeles. The props were made of steel and assembled off-site for visual inspection, then dismantled and re-built on set.[89]

Post-production

In an interview with C.W. Lemoine, Fred Lyn, one of the VFX artists on the special effects team stated that the use of CGI was extensive in the film with the F-14 and SU-57 visualized entirely by computer.[91] Lyn also stated that the F/A-18 scenes for the most part used a single jet which was then put through CGI to create the dogfight training scenes of multiple "jets", and the 4-jet squad used as the strike force at the end of the film also was a single F/A-18 with the other three made through CGI.[91]

The VFX for the film was carried out by four companies and over fifteen VFX technicians named as: Method Studios, MPC, Lola VFX, and Blind LTD. The Production VFX Supervisor coordinating the various VFX components of the film was Ryan Tudhope.[92] Skywalker Sound worked on the sound design, mixing and audio post-production for the film. They were tasked with creating aviation sounds for the movie in conjunction with GE Aviation, which is the builder of large jet engines in Cincinnati.[93]

Because Val Kilmer lost his voice due to throat cancer, his voice was re-created through AI technology using archival audio of his voice.[94][95]

Music

The film's score was composed by Harold Faltermeyer, Lorne Balfe, Lady Gaga, and Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack was released on May 27, 2022, through Interscope Records. It was promoted by two singles, "Hold My Hand" by Lady Gaga and "I Ain't Worried" by OneRepublic. The score also incorporates elements of the original "Top Gun Anthem", from the first film.[96][97]

Marketing

The film's first teaser trailer premiered during a surprise appearance by Cruise at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con on July 18, 2019.[98][99] The first trailer received high praise from fans, with many lauding the return of the series and some comparing it to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.[100] The Hollywood Reporter wrote that some fans noticed that the flag of the Republic of China (the flag used by the government of Taiwan) and the Flag of Japan were missing from the flight jacket of Cruise's character and accused Paramount of removing it to appease China-based co-financier Tencent Pictures.[101] However, the Taiwanese and Japanese flags were later restored, as Tencent would end up pulling out of the production, leading to them being uncredited in the final film.[102] The second trailer was released in December 2019,[103] and a new Snapchat filter for the film was introduced by Paramount, to engage "young-generation audiences".[104]

In February 2020, toy manufacturer Matchbox (owned by Mattel) announced that they were releasing a series of Top Gun die-cast models and products, including the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the P-51 Mustang, as well as role play items. They were scheduled for public release on June 1, 2020, despite the delayed theatrical release.[105] In June 2020, plastic model manufacturer Revell company released a series of 1/48 scale Top Gun plastic models, including an F-14A Tomcat and an F/A-18E Super Hornet based upon the aircraft in the movie. These are versions of previous Revell offerings with modified decals and markings.[106] In July 2020, Hasbro announced a Top Gun themed Transformers toy, "Maverick", which released later in the year.[107] Hasbro later re-released the toy as a Walmart exclusive to tie into the film's final release date.

On August 26, 2021, the first 13 minutes of the film were previewed at CinemaCon along with a new trailer with Tom Cruise marking his presence virtually at the event.[108] In January 2022, CBS Sports released a new clip from the film, coinciding with the final match of Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals on AFC Championship.[109] In February 2022, the final trailer of the film tied to Porsche was aired before Super Bowl LVI.[110] In April 2022, Project ACES, the developers of the Ace Combat series, announced the release of an aircraft collaboration DLC for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown with Top Gun: Maverick, released on May 26, one day before the film's release.[111][112] A free expansion based on Top Gun Maverick was also released for Microsoft Flight Simulator on the same day, containing the F/A-18E/F Superhornet and fictional "Darkstar" planes as playable aircraft.[113] An interactive website was also launched on the same month.[114] On May 23, Cruise collaborated with The Late Late Show host James Corden for recreating a fighter sequence as a part of promotions.[115][116]

A three-week promotional tour was conducted Mexico City, Tokyo, Cannes, London, San Diego and Los Angeles.[117] Event Cinemas announced Top Gun: Maverick Collector Combo, featuring a medium large salt-popcorn with refreshments in a collector cup, being marketed with stills featuring Cruise.[118] Other marketing deals were arranged with Applebee's restaurant chains[119] and Vudu.[120]

Release

Theatrical

Top Gun: Maverick was released theatrically by Paramount Pictures in the United States on May 27, 2022, with advance screenings starting the day before.[121] It was originally scheduled to be released on July 12, 2019, but was delayed to June 26, 2020, in order to shoot several complex action sequences.[7] By March 2020, Paramount moved the film up two days early on June 24, 2020,[122] and was then moved to December 23 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization.[123][124] On July 23, 2020, the film was delayed again to July 2, 2021, due in part to scheduling conflicts with Cruise, as well as the recent delays of Mulan and Tenet due to the rise of COVID-19 cases,[125] and was further delayed to November 19, 2021,[126] before finalizing the May 2022 release date.[121]

The film had its world premiere at CinemaCon on April 28, 2022, followed by a global premiere hosted at the San Diego Civic Theatre in San Diego, California, on May 4, which was also streamed live through YouTube.[127][128] It also screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18 in an Official Selection Screening, where it received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience. The Cannes premiere included a tribute to Cruise and his career.[129][130] The following day it had its UK premiere at the Royal Film Performance in London’s Leicester Square with the cast meeting Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge, this event was held in aid of the Film & TV Charity.[131] ScreenX theaters[132] and AMC Theatres[133][134] held Early Access Event screenings at limited locations across the United States on May 24, 2022.

Home media

Netflix, Apple TV+ and HBO Max attempted to purchase the distribution rights to the film, but Paramount refused to sell them. Bruckheimer, when asked about them and other streaming services attempting to purchase the distribution rights to the film at the film's premiere at CinemaCon, said that the film had always had a big-screen destination. At the film's premiere at Cannes, Cruise also denied that the film was going to streaming.[135][136][137] The film will be available to stream on Paramount+. Unlike most films that debut usually 45 days after their theatrical releases,[138] Top Gun: Maverick's streaming debut has not been set by the studio—Paramount streaming CEO Tom Ryan stated that the film will likely have an extended window exclusive to theaters.[139][140]

Reception

Box office

As of June 29, 2022, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed $530.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $486.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.016 billion.[3][4] On June 17, 2022, Top Gun: Maverick became the highest-grossing film of Cruise's career after crossing $800 million worldwide, surpassing Mission: Impossible – Fallout's $791.1 million.[141] On June 26, the film crossed $1 billion, becoming the second film to do so during the pandemic era after Spider-Man: No Way Home, in addition to overtaking Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the highest-grossing film of 2022.[142][143]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside The Bob's Burgers Movie, and was initially projected to gross $85–120 million in its four-day opening weekend, with some estimates going as high as $130 million. It played in 4,732 theaters, the second widest release of all time, only behind The Lion King (2019), which played in 4,802 theaters. After making $52 million[144] on its first day (including an estimated $19.3 million from previews on Tuesday and Thursday night previews, the best-ever for Cruise, Paramount, and Memorial Day weekend), weekend projections were raised to $150 million. It went on to debut with a $126.7 million figure on the first three days and $160.5 million over the four-day frame, finishing first at the box office and nearly doubling Cruise's previous career best of $64.9 million (War of the Worlds in June 2005). The film also had the largest Memorial Day four-day opening weekend at the time, beating Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($139.8 million in May 2007).[145] Additionally, it became the fourth pandemic-era film to reach $100 million in a three-day opening weekend, after Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Batman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.[146] Top Gun: Maverick also had the second-highest opening weekend for a Paramount film, behind Iron Man 2 ($128.1 million in May 2010).[145] In its second weekend the film remained in first place with $90 million. The 29% drop was the smallest-ever for a film that had an opening of over $100 million, surpassing Shrek 2 (33% drop in its second weekend from a $108 million debut in May 2004).[147] The film was dethroned by newcomer Jurassic World Dominion in its third weekend, though still grossed $51.9 million.[148] On June 13, 2022, Top Gun: Maverick became the first film of 2022 to cross the $400 million mark in the U.S. and Canada, overtaking Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the year's highest-grossing film.[149] In its fourth weekend the film continued to hold well, dropping just 14% to $44.7 million,[150] the second-best fourth wide weekend ever behind Avatar ($50.1 million in 2010).[f][151]

Outside the US and Canada, the film grossed $124 million from 62 markets in its opening weekend, surpassing Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) by 28%. It was Cruise's biggest opening ever in 32 of those markets and Paramount's best opening for a live-action film in 18 of them. The largest markets in its opening weekend were the United Kingdom ($19.4 million), France ($11.7 million), Australia ($10.7 million), Japan ($9.7 million), and Germany ($6.5 million). The film set record debuts for Cruise's career in the Middle East ($6.3 million), Brazil ($5.3 million), the Netherlands ($2.4 million), Sweden ($2.2 million), Belgium ($1.7 million), New Zealand ($1.4 million), Poland ($1.2 million), Argentina ($1.2 million), Finland ($1.1 million), and Portugal ($770,000). IMAX accounted for $10.4 million of its opening weekend outside the US and Canada.[152] The following weekend, it made $85.8 million, a mere 16% drop that included $18.5 million from IMAX screenings. Deadline Hollywood noted France's ability to deliver another $21 million that weekend despite poor weather across the country.[153] The film made $52.7 million (a drop of 37%) in its third weekend.[154] It added $39.7 million in its fourth weekend, dropping 25%,[155] and $45.7 million in its fifth when it opened in South Korea.[142]

Critical response

Tom Cruise's work in the film was widely acclaimed, with some critics calling it one of the best of his career.[13]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 423 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's consensus reads, "Top Gun: Maverick pulls off a feat even trickier than a 4G inverted dive, delivering a long-belated sequel that surpasses its predecessor in wildly entertaining style."[156] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 78 out of 100, based on 63 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[157] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+", while PostTrak reported 96% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 84% saying they would definitely recommend it.[145]

Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood called the sequel better than the original movie.[158] The New York Times-based critic A. O. Scott called it a "thin, over-strenuous and sometimes very enjoyable movie" and "an earnest statement of the thesis that movies can and should be great".[159] Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian: "Cruise presides over some surprising differences from his first outing as the navy pilot hotshot in a film that’s missing the homoerotic tensions of the 80s original".[160] Alonso Duarade of TheWrap called the movie "another cornball male weepie and military recruitment ad that feels like every WWII movie got fed into an algorithm", and wrote that the movie "counts as a worthy sequel in that it succeeds and fails in many of the same ways as the original" and added that "the flying sequences are breathtaking enough to make you forget that these guys and gals are engaging in the kind of combat scenarios that start wars."[161]

Entertainment.ie's Brian Lloyd's 4-star review said the film "exceeds with flying colours" and "exists in a world that is all of its own making. There are golden sunsets, perfectly crisp white t-shirts, exquisitely coiffed hair, and long-held flames of romance that make it all impossible to resist."[162] Clarrise Lougherty, chief editor of The Independent, wrote that the film is "as thrilling as blockbusters get. It’s the kind of edge-of-your-seat, fist-pumping spectacular that can unite an entire room full of strangers sitting in the dark and leave them with a wistful tear in their eye."[163] Richard Brody of The New Yorker wrote, "The new film, less of a sequel than a renovation, infuses the 1986 drama of airborne combat with today’s politics."[164] Tomris Larfy of RogerEbert.com wrote, "Equally worthy of that big screen is the emotional strokes of Maverick that pack an unexpected punch."[165]

Tatsam Mukherjee of Firstpost wrote that the film reminded him of James Mangold's Ford v Ferrari (2019), and commended the coordination between "man and machine". He added, "At the forefront of this clash is a man named Tom Cruise, who wants nothing less than our jaws on the floor. Proving that no amount of multiverse films or superstar cameos will replace the blood, sweat and adrenaline of an actor legitimately trying to push the boundaries of filmmaking. We can be rest assured that if it’s a Tom Cruise film, he will not let us down."[166] Chris Bumbray of JoBlo.com called the film as "a thrill ride of the highest order" and wrote, "If you’re a fan of the original, this will blow you away – but even if you don’t love the 1986 classic (blasphemy), this has a lot to offer."[167]

Lawsuit

In June 2022, the family of Ehud Yonay, who wrote the California magazine article "Top Guns" in May 1983 that inspired the first film, sued Paramount for copyright infringement over the release of Top Gun: Maverick and sought damages as well as an injunction against the film's distribution. Jerry Bruckheimer produced the original film, whose screenplay was written by Jim Cash (died 2000) and Jack Epps Jr.; all three men participated in the sequel.[168] According to the lawsuit, Paramount had obtained exclusive film rights to Yonay's article but ignored the 35-year copyright law, wherein the rights reverted to Yonay's widow Shosh and son Yuval in January 2020 after the writer's death in 2012.[169]

The lawsuit claims that Maverick contains elements similar to the original article and that Paramount continued with the filming, even after receiving notice of the copyright's termination. The film distributor considers most of the sequel to have been complete before then, and denies that Maverick is derived from Yonay's article.[170][171]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ While Faltermeyer, Gaga, and Zimmer were credited with "music by", Balfe received a "score produced by" credit.
  2. ^ As depicted in Top Gun (1986).
  3. ^ As depicted in Top Gun (1986).
  4. ^ Referred to by its NATO reporting name "Felon"[14]
  5. ^ Penny Benjamin's name was mentioned in the previous movie by Goose in response to a reference to the "admiral's daughter" made by the air group commander, Commander Tom Jardian.
  6. ^ American Sniper earned $89.1 million in its fourth weekend in 2015, though this was its first weekend in wide release after three weeks in a limited release of four theaters.

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