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Top Gun Sequel Soars Past $1 Billion Box Office —Without Caving to China.

‘Maverick’ Makes History and It Didn’t Need to Appease Chinese Censors.

Photo for: Top Gun Sequel Soars Past $1 Billion Box Office —Without Caving to China.

Here’s an interesting fact: Hollywood leading man Tom Cruise has never starred in a movie that grossed more than one billion dollars —ever. Hard to believe considering his blockbuster background. But with his latest film, Top Gun: Maverick, he’s done it —he’s cleared a billion.

Perhaps, even more impressive, he did it without the Chinese market. Why won’t Maverick release in China?

Because flags.

According to Newsweek, “When fans at San Diego Comic-Con watched the first Top Gun: Maverick teaser in the summer of 2019, some noticed a subtle change on the combat jacket worn by the main character, Cruise’s Capt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. A commemorative patch on the jacket, which first appeared on screen 36 years ago, once carried the flags of Japan and Taiwan’s Republic of China (ROC) government. But both had been replaced in the sequel. The move appeared to be in deference to Tencent Pictures, the Chinese media giant that was co-financing the Paramount Pictures blockbuster.”

In a rare Hollywood reversal, the original patch —including flags—was restored. Tencent Pictures backed out of co-financing the film, dooming its chances in China.

But now it seems it hardly matters.

On Monday, Paramount Pictures president Brian Robbins said the studio has been “absolutely blown away” by the response to “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“It’s rare to get the special kind of alchemy that creates a true event film, and we have been absolutely blown away by the global response to ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’” Robbins said in a statement. “Thank you to the incomparable Tom Cruise, our visionary filmmakers and talented cast, and our amazing marketing and distribution teams, for delivering an absolutely perfect movie and theatrical experience for audiences around the world.”

Tom Cruise thanked fans and movie-goers on Twitter, saying “To all the films in release, to all the studios, and to all the exhibitors: congratulations. To the audience: thank you for venturing out and allowing us to entertain you. See you at the movies.”

But maybe it’s us that should be thanking them —and movie studios and filmmakers like them —who buck the trend of bending the knee to Chinese censors. Spider-Man: No Way Home refused to remove depictions of the Statue of Liberty from the film’s final fight scene.

Gross without China: $1.9 billion.

Keep it up, Hollywood; this kind of courage is contagious.