Just Say No To Woke: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Crushing Box Office With Pro-America Messaging Is A Wake-Up Call For Hollywood


The original “Top Gun” wasn’t an instant success when it was released in 1986.

The action drama starring Tom Cruise as Maverick received mixed reviews and had decent but less than exceptional box office results. However, as the weeks and months passed, it became a cult classic and ultimately earned $357 million worldwide after being produced for just $15 million.

It would be too easy to say “Top Gun: Maverick” annihilated box office expectations during Memorial Day weekend in 2022 simply because of nostalgia. There seems to be more to it than that. Many reviewers are saying the sequel’s success is because of the pro-America messaging that’s been absent from most Hollywood blockbusters for years. 

“Maverick” is devoid of virtue signaling. There are no trans fighter pilots, Top Gun school drag performances, or monologues about white privilege. The film relies on quality storytelling and action scenes that are real rather than computer generated. Perhaps, in a way, the film is nostalgic for how entertainment used to actually entertain. 

The Federalist called the “Top Gun” sequel “unabashedly patriotic” and “free of token left-wing social and political propaganda.” Reviewer Elle Reynolds wrote, “The only agenda being pushed is that America is the best country in the world and the men and women who risk their lives to defend her are heroes worthy of our respect.” 

The movie sailed to $156 million domestically over the four day opening weekend, in part because of the 80s nostalgia – from leather bomber jackets to characters like Val Kilmer’s Ice Man, who fans remember from the original. Cruise, of course, plays Maverick, and though he’s still a rebel, he’s also matured into a man. This concept alone is worth celebrating in a culture that seems to promote eternal adolescence. 

A reviewer at Outkick expressed similar sentiments. They pointed out sequels that tried – and failed – to turn action flicks into cheesy girl-power advertisements, like the latest “Terminator” movie and the 2019 version of “Charlie’s Angels.” Meanwhile, “Maverick” includes women to showcase their strength as being different but just as important as their masculine counterparts.

“The female pilot in the film, played by Monica Barbaro, is fearless but unwilling to lecture us about ‘mansplaining’ or ‘gender’ inequities,” reviewer Christian Toto wrote for the publication. “Romantic co-star Jennifer Connelly brings out the best in Maverick without sacrificing her strength or femininity. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is about excellence, not quotas or equity.”

Even the most optimistic industry execs couldn’t predict the massive success. IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said that he was “shocked” at the record performance of “Top Gun: Maverick” during an interview following opening weekend, Fox Business reported.

“I knew it would sail past $200 [million], but I’m just shocked that it’s up around $300,” Gelfond said. “This movie has a life of its own I think because it’s a different demographic than a lot of movies that fly at these levels. I think people didn’t know how to analyze it. I don’t think anybody predicted $300.”

It wasn’t just older audience members that made “Maverick” such a hit, either. Even people who weren’t around in 1986 to see the original film in theaters flocked to the cinema to see Cruise back in action.

“I think one of the more shocking things is how many of the young people came, how many of the 18 to 30-year-olds came,” Gelfond continued. 

“And I think the analysts missed one big thing…this was a 37-year gap, so a lot of the people weren’t born when the last one came out….so people forgot it wasn’t just a regular sequel. It was a sequel that spanned beyond the lifetime of a lot of these people. And that it was a great movie which I don’t think anyone really understood how deep that went.”

The exec also credits Cruise for being a true movie star as part of the appeal. It’s worth noting that, while the 59-year-old actor has been subject to negative tabloid attention throughout his career, Cruise has remained apolitical in public. It’s clear that he and “Maverick” are not pushing a political agenda.

That 18 to 30 year demographic isn’t used to being exposed to new movies that entertain without lecturing.

Commentator Meghan McCain loved “Maverick” just like the rest of America. She penned a review for Daily Mail that echoed what so many others were saying.

She thought the “Top Gun” sequel honored the brave men and women who serve in the military, elevating them for their bravery. This is the type of pro-America messaging that audiences have been missing, and apparently, they’re more than willing to seek it out and pay for it if it’s offered.

“…Above all else — the movie isn’t overly political, it isn’t depressing, it isn’t focusing on the flaws of the United States of America and why we suck and why our flag and national anthem aren’t worth honoring,” McCain wrote for the publication. “The filmmakers also took a stand against the sickening Hollywood trend of pandering to the demands of the totalitarian Chinese government.”

She’s referring to the controversy over a patch on Maverick’s jacket. The Daily Wire reported that when viewers noticed the Taiwanese flag was missing in the trailer, they complained about it, only to see the patch reinstated for the theatrical release.

“It is unprecedented,” Ho Siu Bun, a film critic in Hong Kong, told VICE World News. “Major film studios have never been shy about pandering to the Chinese market. And even if it is a simple scene, editing is very costly. So no one knows why they changed it back.”

Some people believe that the patch may have been removed at the request of Chinese film distributor and production company Tencent Pictures, which originally helped finance the sequel with Paramount. Tencent later backed out over the “film’s themes and closeness with the US military,” which could upset China.

Instead of changing the movie’s messaging, “Maverick” sacrificed the partnership with Tencent. That became a lucrative decision. 

“Art is political, it always has been,” McCain continues. “But for every 5,000 woke movies and television shows, making one that is unabashedly pro-America and pro-military is clearly the answer to Hollywood’s woes. The question is if anyone besides Tom Cruise has the backbone to create it or would they rather continue to make commercial failures for an ever-decreasing audience?”

No one knows what the future holds. However, after “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made millions thanks in part to not being woke, and now that “Top Gun: Maverick” has made a multi-millionaire like Tom Cruise even richer, it would be insane for movie execs to ignore the goldmine that’s right in front of their faces. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Just Say No To Woke: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Crushing Box Office With Pro-America Messaging Is A Wake-Up Call For Hollywood