There is nothing more ‘Murica than Top Gun: Maverick so it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Chinese investor pulled out of financing the film due to its pro-U.S. messaging.
Back in 2019, Tencent Holdings signed on to co-finance the film, mostly due to its potential to be a box office behemoth. However, as Top Gun: Maverick opens this weekend and is already breaking Memorial Day box office records, it will do so without any financing from Tencent Holdings. As it turns out, they turned away from the mega-blockbuster after they grew concerned that Communist Party officials in Beijing would be angry about the company’s affiliation with a movie celebrating the American military, per The Wallstreet Journal. I’m guessing they never saw the original 1986 film.
Things grew more toxic as relations between the U.S. and China deteriorated. The about-face turned Top Gun: Maverick from a movie that once symbolized deepening ties between China and Hollywood into a fresh example of the greater tensions between the countries. This has become evident in the last three years as the Hollywood footprint in China has subsided. Major releases like Spider-Man: No Way Home, the biggest blockbuster of 2021, didn’t even see a release in the territory. In case you wondering, Top Gun: Maverick also hasn’t secured a release in China as of this writing.
Tencent initially put up millions of dollars for a 12.5% stake in the film before quietly backing out. Companies operating in China were under pressure to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party as part of President Xi Jinping’s tightening grip on his country’s businesses. Paramount Pictures, at one point, was confident Top Gun: Maverick could get a release in China with an estimated $80 million final gross obtained there. Tom Cruise is a big international star, even tensions in China wouldn’t potentially stop his box office power. Now that the China release is a bust, Paramount is relying on the U.S. grosses to overperform. Doesn’t seem like a problem as early estimates have the film opening to $142 milliion+ over the long holiday weekend.
What are YOUR thoughts on Tencent Holdings pulling out of Top Gun: Maverick?