When Top Gun premiered in theaters, it grossed more than $8 million during its opening weekend alone. That was back in 1986 and early in star Tom Cruise’s career. Top Gun was a pivotal film for Cruise, helping him cement his stardom and propel him to future box office hits like Jerry Maguire and the Mission Impossible films. Now, 36 years later, Cruise has another film hit to his credit with Maverick, the long-time-coming sequel to Top Gun. Maverick raked in a whopping $134 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend and has already passed the $300 million mark.
Why Is Maverick Garnering Such Success?
Although Maverick is outperforming its predecessor at the box office, it definitely had a springboard to success because so many people have seen Top Gun at this point either at the theaters, on VHS or DVD, and later on streaming services. In short, it has a substantial fan following. Many people simply wanted to see if Maverick could live up to the original, which has become a beloved 80s film classic.
Also, Cruise has had decades to build a loyal fan following. Because he makes reliably good films, fans are seldom disappointed when they purchase cinema tickets for his latest offering. Then, there are the fans themselves and their own enthusiasm for the movie. Fans who have seen the movie have inspired others to go see it as well. There are also many filmgoers who simply enjoy military films and will head to the movies when a new one hits the screens. For these reasons, the film has become a major summer blockbuster hit.
Military Movies Earn a High Degree of Success
Many military films have garnered both box office success and critical acclaim. Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Saving Private Ryan – these movies resonate with film goers who not only lived during these poignant historic events, they may have fought themselves in these wars or have family members who did.
War movies have a way of eliciting strong emotions. They involve life and death situations, the need for moral, intellectual, and physical fortitude, and the political issues that drive these conflicts that, ultimately, have a way of changing entire nations and the world. Many military-themed movies have won or been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture or Best Actor/Actress. Some of these include: For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Guns of Navarone, Patton, The Thin Red Line, The Hurt Locker, American Sniper, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Deer Hunter, Good Morning Vietnam, and more.
Some of the best war and military films are meticulously researched so that they can present factual details and even stories that are based on actual people and true events. For instance, Hacksaw Ridge detailed the experiences of the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor. Other films, like Maverick, are entirely fictionalized but convey a glimpse of life as it could be in the Navy, Airforce, or other branch of the military.
As you make your upcoming weekend plans, you might check out Maverick for yourself to see why so many people are talking about the film. Alternatively, you can relax at home and check out your local streaming service for classic films like The Bridge on the River Kwai or The English Patient, but don’t forget the popcorn!
This article originally appeared on USMilitary.org and was shared with permission.