Top Gun: Maverick–Dazzles CinemaCon–Will It Reassert Cruise Stardom?

CinemaCom: Reactions Hail it ‘Blockbuster’

top gun maverick
Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Top Gun: Maverick blasted off at CinemaCon, where Paramount held the tentpole’s first public screening and generated rave first reactions. Journalists in attendance are hailing the long-awaited “Top Gun” sequel as “the perfect blockbuster” and “terrific in every conceivable way.” The film will screen at the Cannes Film Festival in May before Paramount releases it in theaters over Memorial Day weekend.

Paramount president Brian Robbins introduced the CinemaCon screening of the film and said star Cruise has earned his reputation as the most daring actor in Hollywood.

Cruise was not in attendance but did send pre-recorded video in which he told the audience, “Please enjoy, and, hey, let’s try to have a great summer!”

Several moments in the film had the audience cheering, and Paramount execs were thrilled with the way theater owners were responding to the movie.

Cruise reprises his role of test pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who is now put in charge of training a group of younger Top Gun graduates played by the likes of Miles Teller, Glen Powell and more.

Teller stars as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, a pilot trainee who is the son of Maverick’s late best friend Nick “Goose” Bradshaw. Also starring in the film are Jennifer Connolly, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer, the latter of whom reprises his role of Tom “Iceman” Kazansky from the original movie.

Paramount and Lady Gaga stirred up buzz for “Top Gun: Maverick” ahead of CinemaCon by confirming the Oscar and Grammy winner wrote an original song for the movie. The single, titled “Hold My Hand,” will be released May 3.

“Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski told Empire magazine that he shot approximately 800 hours of footage for the movie. The filmmaker put that number into perspective by saying the sequel “shot as much footage as the three ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies combined.” Kosinski reunited with his “Oblivion” star Cruise for “Top Gun: Maverick,” which takes place over 30 years after Tony Scott’s 1986 classic.

In order to shoot scenes inside the cockpits, Kosinski and the filmmaking team had to teach the actors how to use the equipment themselves since the space is far too small to fit a crew. As Cruise said, “We had to teach the actors about lighting, about cinematography, about editing. I had to teach them how to turn the cameras on and off, and about camera angles and lenses. We didn’t have unlimited time in these jets. If they were going up for 20-30 minutes, I had to make sure that we got what we needed.”

Paramount will release Top Gun: Maverick in U.S. theaters on May 27.