Top Gun 2’s Taiwanese Flag Patch Signals a Major Change in Hollywood – NBCNEWS

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In Top Gun: MaverickMaverick’s Taiwanese flag patch isn’t just a clue to the character’s past; it is indicative of a major change in the way Hollywood does business. The long-awaited sequel to Top Gun is widely acclaimed for its dedication to authenticity. In an era where rampant CGI takes the weight off action movies, Top Gun: Maverick is dumping CGI for the physical and emotional weight of practical effects. Green screens have been avoided for actual locations and cockpit camera installations, stunt pilots for the actors themselves, with the stars undergoing a three-month training program designed by Tom Cruise. They even chose to shoot certain unscripted shots – ailerons chattering, camera reflections, Miles Teller banging his head against the cockpit canopy – which are supposed to add to the film’s gritty realism.

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Along with the effects and stunts, Top Gun: Maverick has made an effort with small details that make the characters and their naval aviation department more believable. One such detail is a Taiwanese flag patch on the back of Maverick’s leather jacket. In real life, pilot patches can mean a number of things, including deployments, piloted aircraft, and career milestones. In the Top Gun cinematic universe, the Taiwanese flag patch on Maverick’s jacket is a tribute to his father, Duke Mitchell, who flew a joint mission with Taiwan during the Vietnam War. It’s an enlightening, endearing character detail, but the significance of Maverick’s Taiwanese flag patch goes beyond authenticity and cinematic world-building.

Related: Top Gun 2 Changed Maverick’s Coat To Appeal To China

Top Gun: MaverickThe Taiwanese flag patch signals a shift in Hollywood away from appeasing Chinese censors in return for funding and distribution. With a population of 1.4 billion, China represents the second largest cash register in the world. It’s also very strict about what can and cannot be shown on screen, with sympathetic depictions of America, Christianity, and same-sex romance, to name a few, off-limits. For years, major Hollywood studios have traveled to China, relying on Chinese backing and box office numbers to help them craft bigger, better-performing blockbusters, and in return cut out things the Chinese Communist Party considers “sensitive topics.” When Paramount dropped his Top Gun: Maverick trailer in 2019, it looks like the studio is doing just that. As observers online quickly noted, the Taiwanese flag patch from Maverick’s jacket had disappeared and been replaced by a seemingly abstract symbol with the same color scheme. The reason was clear: The Chinese Communist Party does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, but rather as a province of China. However, the concession was not enough. Chinese tech giant Tencent withdrew money over the film’s allegedly pro-America message, and when? Top Gun: Maverick was released in 2022, the patch was fixed.

Do Blockbuster Movies Still Need China?


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.

What happens next has rocked Hollywood. Despite zero dollars of financing or returns from China, Top Gun: Maverick broke numerous box office records, becoming Paramount’s highest-grossing film ever, the highest-grossing film of 2022, and Tom Cruise’s first film to surpass more than $1 billion at the box office. Many factors seem to work together to make the film a hit, including ’80s nostalgia, a Memorial Day weekend release, Tom Cruise’s star power, and an accessible story. Top Gun: Maverickhowever, is not the unicorn it appears to be.

in 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home refused the demands of Chinese censors to remove the Statue of Liberty and also did not open in China. Still, it became the highest-grossing film of the year. Pixars light yearreleased in the summer of 2022, refused to shoot a same-sex kiss scene and was also not screened in the People’s Republic. light year disappointed at the box office, but the underperformance had more to do with the temperament of the American public than a lack of Chinese distribution. If three is a pattern, these movies seem to indicate that the summer blockbuster doesn’t need China. It is of course too early to say whether films like Top Gun: Maverick will become the norm, but it is a step in the right direction for Hollywood and a victory for free expression in the arts.

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