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Top Gun Maverick: Navy, Air Force Seek Recruitment Boost After Tom Cruise Sequel Grand Opening


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The military will seek the success of “Top Gun: Maverick” to boost recruitment, repeating the effect of the original film.

“We had a good recruiting bump with ‘Top Gun’ in 1986 when I went to the theater and saw ‘Top Gun’ with my friends in ’86,” Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas said, Commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service. , told Fox News Digital. “I was already excited about military aviation, but I was even more excited.”

“We expect ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to do the same,” he added. “You know, whether people want to aim high or fly in the Navy, we just want them to be excited about serving the nation in some capacity.”

The military has faced recruiting challenges in recent years, with the coronavirus pandemic apparently causing shortages that have led each branch to miss reserve-reaching targets, even with lower targets during those years. years. The crisis hit the active component in 2022, with the Army and Navy failing to meet their targets until the end of March.

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The original 1986 film “Top Gun” was a box office success that cemented Tom Cruise as a movie star: it also created a 500% increase in applications from young men who wanted to become naval aviators.

Military officials believe they may see a similar — but not exact — boost from the following film, “Top Gun: Maverick.” The new film, which was released over Memorial Day weekend, gave Cruise his first $100 million opening weekend for a movie, raking in an impressive worldwide total of $321 million.

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Army sought to capitalize on the high buzz and impressive reviews – sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 360 reviews – by running a recruitment ad ahead of the film. Thomas said the service had “a lot of fun” doing the ad, which he called “adrenaline-rushing, high-speed aviation airpower advertising.”

“This ad has it all,” Thomas said. “And the idea is that people are going to go to the movies… We want them to get excited about military service again, whether it’s in naval aviation or coming to apply for the army of the ‘air.”

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“We want to take the opportunity to connect not just the film and the idea of ​​military service, but the fact that we have jobs and we have recruiters waiting for them.”

The film offers impressive visuals as Cruise pushed to keep the film as practical and realistic as possible (as he reminds viewers in a brief speech before the film’s debut.) Cruise spurned interest from the services of streaming to pick up the film during the pandemic because he insisted the film needed to be seen in theaters on the biggest screens possible.

Part of the appeal is because the Navy allowed the film to use planes, aircraft carriers and military bases for the production. The crew flew in real planes that cost production more than $11,000 an hour to rent, but only military-trained pilots could handle the jets.

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Paramount Pictures said in the film’s production notes that Cruise established his own flight training program to prepare the film’s young actors for the nauseating rigors of airplane maneuvers, and so they could play their roles with ” real Navy pilots taking them on the journey of their lives.”

Fox News Landon Mion contributed to this report.


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