One change made to the blockbuster film “Top Gun: Maverick” reportedly had audiences in Taiwan cheering and Americans should do the same.
As fans of the 1986 original “Top Gun” likely know, the sequel was supposed to be released in the summer of 2020, but COVID-19 scuttled those plans.
Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Paramount Pictures released a trailer for the movie in July 2019.
In that trailer, Tom Cruise, reprising his role as Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, puts on his iconic leather bomber jacket. But unlike in the original movie, a patch on it no longer shows the flags of Taiwan and Japan.
The original patch commemorated the battleship USS Galveston’s tour of Japan, Taiwan and the western Pacific in 1963 and 1964.
In the video below, the patches without the Japan and Taiwan flags can be seen at the 1:15 mark.
The change to the patch in the trailer caused quite a response, with charges that Hollywood was once again genuflecting to communist China.
Are you glad Paramount put the flags back in?
Beijing does not recognize the independence of Taiwan, an island nation about 100 miles off the coast of mainland China.
The Republic of China, Taiwan’s formal name, has maintained a separate government from the communist-ruled China since 1949.
Vice’s Rachel Cheung reported audiences in Taiwan cheered when they saw their flag, along with Japan’s, had been restored in the “Top Gun: Maverick” movie.
Having seen the film twice, I can report it is so.
The image in the tweet below shows both versions of the jacket. The one on the right shows the Japan and Taiwan flags restored.
Why Tom Cruise’s Jacket in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Had Taiwan Moviegoers Clapping and Cheering – 🇹🇼🇯🇵 https://t.co/0iRxJiTZgK
— Nicola Smith (@niccijsmith) May 28, 2022
“It is unprecedented,” Ho Siu Bun, a film critic in Hong Kong, told Vice. “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.”
Cheung wrote that some Taiwanese moviegoers, following the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick,” flocked to buy copies of the bomber jacket going for $1,449 a pop.
According to Vice, a Taiwanese film writer, who goes by the moniker Knee Joint, wrote on Facebook, “To be honest, Tom 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. But they still did it anyway.”
Deadline reported Monday that the movie’s producers have not commented on the matter.
On a related note, Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd., after initially investing millions to take a 12.5 percent stake in the “Maverick,” pulled out.
“The reason: Tencent executives backed out of the $170 million Paramount Pictures production after they grew concerned that Communist Party officials in Beijing would be angry about the company’s affiliation with a movie celebrating the American military, according to people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Association with a pro-American story grew radioactive as relations between the U.S. and China devolved, the people added. The about-face turned ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ from a movie that once symbolized deepening ties between China and Hollywood into a fresh example of the broader tensions forming between the U.S. and China.”
This is great news. After a brush with anti-American censorship, Top Gun 2 shed its ties to China’s government and won its soul back. How many other American movies have sacrificed their values and principles at the alter of Chinese investment? https://t.co/mlgz320MCh
— Ian Easton (@Ian_M_Easton) May 29, 2022
Well, it’s Tencent’s loss.
Variety reported “Maverick” took $160.5 million during its first four days of release domestically, making it the most successful Memorial Day debut of all time.
The movie took in another $139 million overseas for a total global haul of over $300 million, according to Variety.
China has not approved the film for release in its market, according to the Journal.
Those who have seen “Maverick” love it.
It earned an “A+” CinemaScore rating from audiences, the first movie to do so in 2022.
We polled @TopGunMovie: Maverick tonight and audiences gave it an A+! Congrats to @ParamountPics, @TomCruise, and the rest of the cast and crew! Will you be lining up to see the sequel this weekend? #CinemaScore pic.twitter.com/ESnSu9RxkE
— CinemaScore (@CinemaScore) May 28, 2022
So, hurray for Paramount Pictures and its production partner Skydance Media for releasing an unabashedly patriotic movie and not bowing to the CCP.
However, the decision was consistent with the message of “Maverick” itself: America is at its best when it courageously stands for freedom!