When Top Gun hit the movie theaters on May 16, 1986, it took in more than $8 million its opening weekend, which doesn't seem like a lot, especially considering it had a $15 million budget. But the following weeks proved fruitful, and the blockbuster went on to nab over $356 million in box office receipts before it left the screens. Odds are good some of those numbers were from repeat viewers, as Top Gun had the perfect mixture of action, romance, comedy and drama.
When news broke of a sequel to the hit, some viewers were eager to see what Jerry Bruckheimer would bring to the screen — even with the focus shifting from fighter jets to drones. Others were not so excited, mainly because Top Gun is iconic, one of those films that you can watch over and over again without getting bored. It's a movie that makes you stop and rewatch whenever you see it on your television screen. And, after 30 years, we cannot imagine a sequel without the components that made Top Gun a powerhouse movie.
1. The '80s
The 1980s delivered its fair share of winning movies, and as we watch Top Gun today, we get nostalgic for that time of upturned collars, big hair and early technology. A sequel today would have the benefit of 30 years of improvements, but it would also detract from one of the things that made Top Gun special. The movie didn't have all the bells and whistles you will find in an action/adventure today, but it was impressive for its time. In today's age, it's difficult to impress viewers with technology. The special effects would, undoubtedly, be higher end, but that isn't the only thing that made Top Gun great.
2. The Music
The soundtrack for Top Gun reached 9x Platinum Certification and remains one of the most popular soundtracks in movie history. It's virtually impossible to hear "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" or "Danger Zone" without thinking about Top Gun. And listening to "Take My Breath Away" conjures images of Maverick and Charlie.
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The songs helped to make the movie, whether it was Maverick and Goose singing "Great Balls of Fire" or the pair initiating "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" in an attempt to impress Charlie. Can you imagine any songs recreating those same feelings in a sequel?
3. The Friendship
Goose and Maverick had the original bromance. Their interactions were priceless, and not one eye was dry in the movie theater when Goose lost his life. It was that loss that almost broke Maverick and, in the end, it was his connection to Goose that restored him. This friendship strengthened the movie, and, without it, there will be a gaping hole in the sequel. Who will have replaced Goose as Maverick's best friend? And will viewers see him in the same light as the wisecracking sidekick that made us all laugh?
Top Gun 2 won't have the same time period, music or friendship that made Top Gun a hit. Though some may argue these are easily replaceable, the original Top Gun would not have the same impact today as it had in 1986. It's difficult to imagine Maverick as anything other than an arrogant fighter pilot who loses his best friend and faces one of the biggest challenges of his life. It was the singing, the friendships, the danger and the romance that shaped Top Gun. It was a movie about cocky fighter pilots, warring to be the best, dangerous flights that cost lives, and overcoming the challenges of loss.
In 2015, Top Gun was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry which, according to acting Librarian of Congress David Mao, "recognizes its importance to cinema and American cultural and artistic history." So maybe preserving Top Gun as the one and only isn't such a bad thing.
Do you think a Top Gun sequel should be made?