Hollywood has chosen the USA over China after it responded to the outcry from fans who noticed the Taiwanese flag was missing from the bomber jacket worn by Tom Cruise’s character in the trailer of “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The patch, originally seen on the back of Lieutenant Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell’s black leather jacket in the 1986 film “Top Gun,” was missing in the 2019 trailer for the then-long-awaited sequel to the movie, the Daily Mail reported.
It was part of a variety of patches from Mitchell’s father’s tours in Japan and Taiwan from 1963 to 1964. At the time, in place of the flags were random symbols believed to be appealing to the communist nation’s political demands.
There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket – only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)… pic.twitter.com/gUxFNFNUKX
— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019
However, when fans finally got a chance to see the 59-year-old actor reprise his famed character’s role this weekend, they noticed it was back in the worldwide release.
It might just be a middle finger to China. https://t.co/RqH9BQFFnm
— VICE (@VICE) May 27, 2022
“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.”
During the Taiwan screening, audiences reportedly cheered and clapped when their flag appeared, the outlet noted.
“To be honest, Tom [Cruise] doesn’t necessarily have to wear the same jacket in the opening scene. There’s no way film producers didn’t know the Republic of China flag would cross the Chinese Communist Party’s red line,” a Taiwanese film writer, who goes by the moniker Knee Joint, wrote on Facebook. The Republic of China is the official name of Taiwan. “But they still did it anyway.”
There was speculation that the original decision might have been due to the Chinese film distributor and production company Tencent Pictures, which was helping finance the highly-anticipated sequel with Paramount. However, it ended up backing out over the “film’s themes and closeness with the US military,” which could upset China.
The movie is turning out to be Cruise’s biggest opening of his career and is projected to bring in more than $150 million at the box office over the Memorial Day weekend four-day release, the Hollywood Reporter reported. It is also turning out to be the largest opening a film has ever had at the domestic box office during the same holiday weekend.
At the time of this publication, there was no word yet on a release date in China, the outlet noted.