The sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun,” once set for release in summer 2020 but pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally open in theaters on Friday, May 27.
“Top Gun: Maverick” had its world premiere on board an aircraft carrier in San Diego, California, last week and press screenings have begun.
“Thirty-six years later and here we are. It’s surreal,” Tom Cruise said at the global premiere.
Box office projections for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
“Top Gun: Maverick” should make between $280 million to $395 million in total domestic box office, according to Shawn Robbins of Boxoffice Pro, which makes projections for U.S. theatrical exhibitors, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“That would put the movie solidly in the top-five projected grossing films for the summer,” the article said.
What is ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ about?
The 59-year-old Cruise returns in his role as hot shot Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell more than 30 years after the original story to train a group of young fighter pilots for a special mission. Among the pilots is Lt. Bradley Bradshaw, call sign “Rooster,” played by Miles Teller, the son of Mitchell’s late friend Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.
The film’s star-studded cast includes Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez and Greg Tarzan Davis.
What are critics and reviews saying about ‘Top Gun: Maverick’?
Mark Kennedy of The Associated Press said the movie is “a textbook example of how to make a sequel.”
“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ satisfies with one foot in the past by hitting all the touchstones of the first film,” Kennedy wrote, “and yet stands on its own. It’s not weighed down by its past like the last ‘Ghostbusters’ sequel, but rather soars by using the second to answer and echo issues with the first.”
Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times said “a lot of consideration and calculation have clearly gone into this long-aborning blockbuster sequel.”
“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a longer, costlier and appreciably weightier affair, and its expanded emotional scope and heightened production values (including a score by the original film’s composer, Harold Faltermeyer) give it a classy, elegiac sheen,” Chang wrote. “As a rare big-budget Hollywood movie about men and women who fly without capes, it has a lot riding on it. Once set for a summer 2020 release but delayed almost two years by the pandemic, it arrives bearing the hopes and dreams of a tentatively resurgent industry that could use a non-Marvel theatrical hit.”
Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe: “Speed is one thing. Clarity is another. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has both.”
Anthony Lane of the New Yorker: “The plain fact is that ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ works. Designed to coax a throng of viewers into a collective and involuntary fist pump, it far outflies the original, while retaining one old-fashioned virtue: the lofty action unfolds against real skies, rather than giant smears of C.G.I.”
Tomris Laffly of RogerEbert.com: “The authentic work that went into every frame generously shows. ... As the jets cut through the atmosphere and brush their target soils in close-shave movements, the sensation they generate feels miraculous and worthy of the biggest screen one can possibly find.”
“‘Maverick’ harnesses everything that worked in Tony Scott’s original movie and turns the volume up,” Kendrick wrote. “The result is a film that simultaneously nods to nostalgia, honoring the ‘Top Gun legacy,’ while blasting open the series mythology by introducing new heroes as well as modern blockbuster effects that deliver an emotionally rich and pulse-pounding ride. Arriving 26 years after the first film, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a rare sequel that is not only better than the original but retroactively makes ‘Top Gun’s’ story altogether deeper.”
“Top Gun: Maverick,” is rated PG-13 for “sequences of intense action and some strong language.” Running time: 131 minutes.