Top Gun: Maverick: While “Top Gun: Maverick” is currently in theaters, we look back on the real phenomenon that was the first film, released in theaters in 1986 and which propelled Tom Cruise to the rank of the planetary star.
Top Gun: Maverick
In May 1986, when the feature film Top Gun was released in American theaters, no one, except perhaps producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, really suspected that the story of a young flying ace, head burnt from a school reserved for the elite of the US naval aviation, will cause a real shock wave in popular culture. Because the case does not seem to be really well underway.
After a change of direction at Paramount finally saved the project (the previous bosses being burned by the failure of a television series on aviation), the reception of the film, during a preview in Houston, is chilly, to say the least, due to the recent accident of the space shuttle Challenger, as noted by Jerry Bruckheimer at the microphone of Variety. Which doesn’t really give confidence for the future, even if the audience satisfaction rate is ultimately very good.
And if the public, which has the privilege of discovering the film before the others, appreciates it, the criticism is mixed. Difficult, therefore, to imagine a worldwide success, especially since the main actor, Tom Cruise, who is certainly a young actor in the making after being revealed by Risky Business, is not at the time a star of the caliber of John Travolta or Michael J. Fox, who were among the long list of comedians vying for the role of Pete Mitchell. And yet…
However, Top Gun: Maverick becomes a real phenomenon, not only in the United States but all over the world. Produced for around 15 million greenbacks, Tony Scott’s feature film brought in more than $350 million in revenue. In France, it seduces more than 3.5 million spectators. And Tom Cruise becomes a planetary star, his career taking off as fast as an F-14 Tomcat.
Inspired by Ehud Yonay’s Top Guns article, published in 1983 in California magazine, Top Gun is a perfect blend of action and romance, a blockbuster that grips the guts but also knows how to strike a chord. Led by the Oscar-winning hit Take My Breath Away composed by Giorgio Moroder and interpreted by the group Berlin, the film seduces with its incredible aerial sequences, with on-board cameras that really give the spectators the impression of being in the cockpit.
But the success of Top Gun: Maverick is not limited to the number of entries in dark rooms. The impact of the work is such that the Navy recorded a jump in the recruitment of more than 500%, many wishing to become a pilot after seeing this unprecedented adventure at high altitude. And that’s not all! Tom Cruise makes it possible to boost by 50% the sales of the Aviators glasses of the Ray-Ban brand that he wears in the feature film.
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Cult to the point of being often parodied, as with the delirious Hots Shots! Led by Charlie Sheen (who was once tipped to play in the 1986 film!), Top Gun very quickly came close to being given a new mission on the big screen. But the project fell through, both for logistical issues and because of the cachet requested by Tom Cruise. It took more than three decades for the famous sequel to the film phenomenon, titled Top Gun: Maverick, to hit theaters.
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