MEGHAN MCCAIN: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is another wake-up call for Hollywood

My husband and I were just two of the dozens of Americans who rushed to the movie theaters this past Memorial Day weekend to watch Top Gun: Maverick.

The sequel to the epic 1986 original starring Tom Cruise broke box office records, grossing $156 million domestically over its four-day opening weekend.

It was also Cruise’s first $100 million-plus opening in his entire career.

Ben and I got a babysitter, prepaid tickets, and bought collectible metal popcorn buckets.

This is the first time I’ve been looking forward to going out to the movies since the COVID-19 outbreak — and I’m sure thousands of other Americans feel the same way.

The question is: why? Why are so many people going out to see this movie and not other Hollywood movies?

The first part of the answer is obvious – Top Gun: Maverick is the sequel to a beloved film that has received incredible reviews and is considered by many to be as good, if not better, than the original .

The second part of the answer is more complicated.

Perhaps the more appropriate question is, why did it take so long for modern Hollywood to realize how to make a successful movie?

Top Gun is a straight-forward action movie that celebrates all the good things about our country and our military.

Top Gun is a straight-forward action movie that celebrates all the good things about our country and our military.

Throw in a handsome male lead, a romantic drama with Cruise's love interest Jennifer Connelly (top left), and a new generation of actors and

Throw in a handsome male lead, a romantic drama with Cruise’s love interest Jennifer Connelly (top left), and a new generation of actors and “aviators” like Mile Steller, and you have the damn sequel.

Don’t they realize that most Americans are proud of their country and that they don’t want to feel bad about it when they spend their hard-earned money.

For a generation of Americans, Top Gun represented a celebration of the U.S. military and the nation as a whole.

The original and the sequel began with the same iconic script – describing how “the U.S. Navy built an elite school for its top 1 percent of airmen… The Navy calls it the Combat Arms School. The flyer calls it: Top Gun.”

If this gives you the chills – you’re not alone.

Top Gun is a straight-forward action movie that celebrates all the good things about our country and our military.

Throw in a handsome male lead, a romantic drama with Cruise’s love interest Jennifer Connelly, and a new generation of actors and “aviators” like Mile Steller, and you’ve got a damn sequel.

There’s also a very touching scene between Maverick and Iceman (Cruise and Val Kilmer), and I’m a woman enough to admit that I’ve cried.

But most importantly — the film isn’t overly political or depressing, and it doesn’t focus on the flaws of the United States of America and why we suck and why our flag and anthem aren’t memorable.

Filmmakers also oppose Hollywood’s disgusting trend of pandering to the demands of a totalitarian Chinese government.

In the original 1986 film, Maverick’s flight jacket had a patch depicting the Taiwanese flag. But during a 2019 preview, the patch was removed to appease Chinese censors.

Filmmakers also oppose Hollywood's disgusting trend of pandering to the demands of a totalitarian Chinese government. (Top) Maverick, played by Cruise, wears a flight jacket with the Taiwan flag printed on it

Filmmakers also oppose Hollywood’s disgusting trend of pandering to the demands of a totalitarian Chinese government. (Top) Maverick, played by Cruise, wears a flight jacket with the Taiwan flag printed on it

Moviegoers were delighted to see the flag restored in the film — a sign that neither the filmmakers nor Cruise were content to be the lackeys of the Chinese regime.

I loved the movie so much, it felt good to leave the theater that night.

Hollywood has to wake up, “Wake up and go bust” is real.

It was announced last month that streaming giant Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year, the first such decline.

Maybe that’s because many viewers can’t understand their content.

Netflix recently produced and released series such as Colin Kaepernick’s “Black and White,” which includes comparing the NFL draft to slavery.

It was also reported last month that Disney would be among the worst-performing stocks in 2022 following a high-profile dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over its Parental Educational Rights bill.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s decision to take a political stance in the fight has been questioned as being neutral is in line with him considering families of all political affiliations visit Disney theme parks and watch their productions the best interests of the company.

Across the media, there are companies, news personalities and TV personalities who have decided to take a clear political stance, yes, anti-Republican, anti-conservative.

CNN’s ratings are so poor that it has become a topic in the industry. Between January 2021 and May 2021, they lost 70% of their audience in the key 25 to 54-year-old demographic.

They also spent $300 million on a digital streaming service called CNN+, which was such a flop that it was canceled less than a month after its launch.

Awards are down across the board, and anyone hosting a Hollywood gala has a 50/50 chance of being cancelled due to old tweets or a routine dug up by the Thought Police.

On the one hand, I’m tired of letting politics seep into my entertainment.

That doesn’t mean artists can’t use their voices and platforms. But if you’re an entertainer and say you’re ostracized by someone like me who was born in a red state, votes Republican and goes to church every Sunday, I probably won’t look at you.

I don’t want to support people who hate me and seem shameless about it.

So, what’s the lesson here?

Art is political, always has been. But for every 5,000 wake-up movies and TV shows, making one that’s unabashedly pro-American and pro-military is the obvious solution to Hollywood’s woes.

The question is whether anyone other than Tom Cruise has the guts to create it, or would they rather continue to create commercial failures for a dwindling audience?

Only time will tell…but hey, I’m glad that in 2022 I sat down and watched a movie and had fun.