Maverick to challenge Chinese censorship

Tom Cruise on the set of “Top Gun”.

Paramount Pictures | Sunset Boulevard | Corbis | Getty Images

36 years later, sequel to Tom Cruise The classic movie “Top Gun” is a Critical and commercial success, grossed $248 million at the global box office in its opening weekend. in Taiwanit is also celebrated for another reason: not to be pimped China.

In 2019, . was released Trailer for the movie Top Gun: Maverick He showed Cruise’s character, US Navy pilot Pete Mitchell, in the same bomber jacket he was wearing in the original film. But two flag patches – represent Japan and the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan – seems to have been replaced by other emblems.

The move was criticized at the time as an act of self-censorship to please China’s censors. Beijing considers Taiwan, a democratic, self-governing country of 24 million people, an integral part of its territory and criticizes any reference to it as a sovereign state.

36 years later, sequel to Tom Cruise The classic movie “Top Gun” is a Critical and commercial success, grossed $248 million at the global box office in its opening weekend. in Taiwanit is also celebrated for another reason: not to be pimped China.

In 2019, . was released Trailer for the movie Top Gun: Maverick He showed Cruise’s character, US Navy pilot Pete Mitchell, in the same bomber jacket he was wearing in the original film. But two flag patches – represent Japan and the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan – seems to have been replaced by other emblems.

The move was criticized at the time as an act of self-censorship to please China’s censors. Beijing considers Taiwan, a democratic, self-governing country of 24 million people, an integral part of its territory and criticizes any reference to it as a sovereign state.

Hollywood is very much attached to Beijing’s sensibilities to access and profit from the lucrative Chinese market. Last year, the “Fast & Furious” actor John Cena He apologized profusely in Mandarin to his Chinese fans for calling Taiwan a country during a teaser tour for the franchise’s latest movie.

Experts say the inclusion of the Taiwanese flag in Top Gun: Maverick may signal a shift in Hollywood away from a culture of respect for China’s red lines.

said Ayn Kokas, associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and author of Hollywood Made in China.

Hollywood movies including Marvel movies “eternal” And the “Shang Zhi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” It was blocked from Chinese screens after directors or actors involved in films made comments critical of China.

Chinese tech giant Tencent said in 2019 it was investing in the second part of the “Top Gun”. She later withdrew over concerns that her support for a film with strong pro-US military themes would anger officials in the ruling Communist Party, The Wall Street Journal reported, Last week, citing people familiar with the financing.

NBC News requested comment from Paramount Pictures as well as from Tencent’s offices in China, where it was a public holiday on Friday, and from Los Angeles.

With “Top Gun: Maverick” not expected to be released in mainland China, Kokas said, the filmmakers had more flexibility in their decision making.

“Especially for a movie like Top Gun: Maverick, a tribute to the U.S. Army released in time for the Memorial Day holiday in the United States, there is a clear incentive to play with the film’s more reliable audience,” she said, “and it seems to have paid off financially.”

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