“Top Gun: Maverick” is soaring at the box office, and if it doesn’t stop soon, I’m going to run out of jet puns when I write about it. The film has taken in $1 billion dollars and change (the change part is over $16 million), and is still in theaters. It’s the highest-grossing film of Tom Cruise’s long career. It wasn’t an easy shoot at all though, with director Joseph Kosinski shooting over 800 hours of footage — and the young actors had to learn to shoot their own footage up in the planes, as there was no room for a camera person. That’s in addition to learning to handle the g forces and flying in general. Tom Cruise did most of his own stunts (as usual). Not only that, but scheduling some of the shoots involved dealing with the military’s schedule.
At an event hosted by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) and THR for studio production executives, executive producer Tommy Harper said that they had to change things around and relocate because there was an aircraft carrier that wasn’t able to leave its port. Harper said that they had to pivot.
“We had to figure out something for two days. We didn’t shut down. We had to crane decommissioned planes onto the carrier overnight so we can film the next day and get hundreds of extras on the carrier. We kept the crew on the carrier sleeping dockside, so we never shut down. We were always maneuvering.”
That sounds crazy! Imagine being an extra on this film, or that crew sleeping dockside. From the sets I’ve visited over the years, I know there are always production issues of some kind when shooting on location, from weather to loud neighbors, but this is pretty wild.
‘There’s no insurance for this type of thing’
Harper said that they couldn’t shut down the production, though:
“There’s no insurance for this type of thing. You know you’re going to spend money to get jets out of depo. You know you’re spending money on a crane operator. I don’t know how much money that is. I do know it’s a lot cheaper than shutting down.”
At this point, with the amount of money this film has made so far, it’s hard to argue that spending money to make it work was a bad idea. I just keep thinking about what a loss that would have been if the film hadn’t done well. It really did pay off. “Top Gun: Maverick” is a film that is actually getting people back into theaters, with flight scenes that really need to be seen on a big screen. Is “Danger Zone” in your head now? It’s certainly in mine.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is in theaters now.