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10 Surprising Top Gun: Maverick Facts After Huge Opening Weekend

When it came to the box office, the aviation movie had it all going on. But behind the scenes, it was a wild and sometimes downright weird ride.

10 Surprising Top Gun: Maverick Facts After Huge Opening Weekend
Tom Cruise as Maverick pulling some serious G’s in Top Gun: Maverick. Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.

The opening weekend of Top Gun: Maverick was the highest-grossing opening weekend launch of any Tom Cruise film ever. And he’s been in some big ones. The film, which earned around $150 million in the United States and another $100 million internationally, greatly outperformed expectations, just like Maverick does. It might have been the perfect storm for success.

The film, which is a sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, stars Tom Cruise, the A-lister actor that everybody is calling some version of the “the last great movie star.” The story is a redemption tale, which has seemed to resonate with audiences—it did with us—and it’s got tons of high-octane action and an easy plot to follow, one that, to be honest, is completely predictable. All of that would be good enough to equal boffo box office numbers to begin with, but the film’s distribution was slowed by the pandemic, so there was pent-up demand for it without the risk of people forgetting what it was… if you saw Top Gun, you know what this one is. And it’s a near certainty that the film will do red-hot business once it hits streaming sites, and, no, we don’t know when that will be.

Here are some weird background details about the film:

1. The film wasn’t cheap to make. The original, which wrapped 36 years ago, cost the studio $15 million, which was probably the tab for the catering on this one, which overall cost $150 million.

2. The use of the F-18s jets, which some are saying were the real stars of the film, cost the producers $11,000 per hour.

3. An F-18 goes for more than $75 million a pop, about the same price as a Gulfstream G650ER.

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4. Cruise owns and flies several of his own planes, including a World War Two-era P-51 Mustang and a HondaJet.

5. Reports are that Cruise wasn’t allowed to do any of the flying of the military jets. What are the odds that he didn’t, though? Seriously?

6. It looked as though Cruise did do the flying of his own P-51 in the film.

7. Cruise landed his own helicopter on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego for the movie’s premiere.

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8. The only actor other than Cruise who reprised their role from Top Gun was Val Kilmer, who played Cruise’s rival/nemesis in the original. Kilmer, who was battled cancer for years, played retired admiral Iceman, and his voice, which in real life he has lost the use of, was recreated for the sequel using existing recordings of the actor’s voice.

9. A good deal of the dialog dealt with the forces that the human body is subjected to with extreme attitudes and accelerations, with 10 G’s considered the upper limit of human ability. If wearing a G-suit and doing the right physical things to avoid blacking out or passing out, a well-conditioned and trained pilot can do around that, though it’s widely accepted that sustained flight at 9-plus Gs will cause a blackout.

10. One big question is, is it possible to be a fighter pilot at Cruise’s advanced age? He was 56 or so when the movie was filmed. The answer is, pretty much, yes. A Naval fighter pilot retired back in 2015 at the age of 56, and internationally, the historical record is replete with older, successful fighter pilots plying their trade beyond the age of 60.

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A No BS Review of Top Gun: Maverick

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