Paramount’s smash hit legacy sequel Top Gun: Maverick, continues to obliterate the competition at the box office. Following an incredible launch in theaters last weekend, when the film grossed a whopping $124 million, Maverick is back at No. 1 for a second weekend, earning another $86 million in North American theaters. Given all of the blockbusters the A-lister has starred in, the picture has become Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing domestic release ever.
The competition was no match for Cruise, as the next nearest performer, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stayed in second place, earning $9.2 million in the United States and Canada. There weren’t any major studio wide openers this weekend to slow down Top Gun 2. NEON is going wide with their Cannes premiere Crimes of the Future from David Cronenberg; that movie garnering 80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Some leftist publications have started smearing the film as too patriotic and anti-woke. Vanity Fair went hard in the paint against conservative news site Breitbart over John Nolte’s effusive praise of the film.
Aside from the Defense Department propaganda inherent to most of Hollywood’s military-themed creations, the film is not overtly political in a way that is recognizable to Americans who have grown accustomed to Air Force flyovers at the Super Bowl and World Series. In many regards, Top Gun: Maverick feels like a product of the ’80s—a decade that saw the U.S. invading countries like Grenada and Panama while also in the throes of the Cold War with Russia. And like the original 1986 movie, it is an exhilarating, beautifully produced military recruitment ad that favors neither Republican nor Democratic sensibilities. It manages to portray a conflict over nuclear weapons as downright fun.
Despite acknowledging that he had not seen the film, Breitbart columnist John Nolte preemptively lauded Top Gun: Maverick as a “masculine, pro-American, stridently non-woke blockbuster,” adding, “Rather than apologize for being an ’80s ‘relic,’ it embraced what everyone loved in 1986 and still loves today.” While citing a number of Hollywood’s “woke flops,” Nolte wrote that Top Gun: Maverick avoided that fate by “respect[ing] human nature” and eschewing progressive commentary. “It didn’t do what James Bond did—turn itself into a mewling little pajama boy gerbil of a movie,” he added. “It didn’t do what Star Wars did and pervert a romantic adventure series into a shrill Womyn’s Studies lecture.”
What’s not to like? Nolte seemed to relish in their displeasure with his take on the blockbuster film:
Themes drive good movies. “Inclusion” and “diversity” are not themes. Instead, they’re buzzwords spouted by smug, over-educated, shallow bullies whose self-esteem is based on everything but character and integrity.
It’s clear summer moviegoing is in full effect, and with 46% K-12 schools out and another 88% colleges on break according to Comscore. While it’s clear Top Gun: Maverick has pulled in those older audiences who were reluctant during the pandemic, according to Deadline, Paramount is jazzed by the sequel’s younger draw given that the 18-24 quad was the pic’s largest audience segment over the weekend at 21%.
God bless the free market indeed.