Top Gun was launched in 1986 and would go on to be the highest-grossing film of the year.
On a lesser known fact, the movie didn’t smash the opening week gates. It did well enough to bring in $8.1 million but the strong reviews after week 1 pushed it to the final U.S. theater total of $176.8 million bucks.
Here’s the other top 3 earning movies that “didn’t get their names on the TG plaque”:
2nd top earning: Crocodile Dundee $174.8 million
3rd top earning: Platoon $138.5 million
4th top earning: The Karate Kid, Part 2 $115.1 million
The actors’ “pilot look” was based on a picture book by photographer Bruce Weber. That photo book showed slightly covered to full-on nude photos of male models with a Military theme.
The role of “Maverick” was written for Tom Cruise after his performance in “Risky Business”…right?
One would think but the writers actually wrote it after his performance in “All the Right Moves”.
If you love ’80s music, then you’re probably a fan of the TG soundtrack which featured Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and (my personal favorite) Steve Stevens’ “Top Gun Anthem”.
However, leave it to the Academy to award the group “Berlin” with the Best Original Song for “Take My Breath Away”.
Small detail for you. The original name of the movie was “Top Guns” (plural).
Director (and a loss to movie-making awesomeness) Tony Scott was a big gamble.
Prior to TG, Mr. Scott was only credited for directing one small budget film named “The Hunger” with Susan Sarandon and David Bowie.
TG helped launch 3 actor’s careers from no-namers to the A-list:
-Tim Robbins “Merlin”
-Meg Ryan “Carole”, Goose’s wife
-Anthony Edwards “Goose”
(one could argue “A-list on Mr. Edwards but I’m guessing every club door opens when “Mother Goose” shows up)
Goose’s death was originally written to be caused by a mid-air collision but the Navy didn’t like idea of pilot error. As such, “we’re caught in a…”
Val Kilmer’s first reaction to doing TG was simply, “no” but Mr. Scott convinced him to take a risk on the roll of “Iceman”.
Studio voices (the executive board) didn’t want Kelly McGillis to star as the lead babe because they thought she was “too old”.
The roll of “Cougar” played by John Stockwell. He went on to direct the following flicks: “Blue Crush”, “Into the Blue” and a horror movie called “Turistas”.
Sun glass brand “Ray-Ban” owes Tom Cruise a pat on the back. They had huge spikes of sales in 1983 from “Risky Business” and again in ’86 from Top Gun.
Ask a nerd (like myself) what the best opening to a movie is and TG will come up on the list. For that scene, they rented the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.
Mr. Scott didn’t love the footage they captured that morning, so he insisted that the lighting would be perfect if they turned around. This decision cost an extra $25,000 but it turned out to be one h*ll of a ballzy great call.
For the party scenes filmed in San Diego, Mr. Scott encouraged the actors to go out and party hard to help get into character.
Bet you can’t guess what is the name of the award given to the best pilot to go through the “Top Gun”.
That’s because the award plaque was made-up for the movie…there is no “first place TG plaque” in the U.S. Navy.
Val Kilmer ad-libbed the following:
Cruise explains, “because I was inverted” then Kilmer coughs and chimes in with, “bullshit”.
Paramount’s executives Jeffery Katzenberg and Michael Eisner did not like the script of Top Gun. It was shelved until a new CEO, Ned Tanen, took control of the company. During a lunch meeting, Mr. Tanen gave TG the green for go. Funny thing is, he hadn’t even read a single page of the script. Good call Ned.
Rick Rossovich “Slider” got the nickname “Rock” while filming but how did he earn this title?
All of the actors portraying a pilot were put into a Naval pilot’s training course. They actually got to take rides in the F-14 Tomcat. However the course also had swimming element. Apparently, “Sliders” ripped abs couldn’t tread water very well because “he kept sinking like a rock”.
Top Gun’s original investment of $15 million only made under $8.2 million…and then it jumped to $176.8 million in the U.S. and ultimately it ended at with $356.8 million worldwide…not including the video games, toys, so on and oh yeah, sales of VHS/DVDs.
During the cast’s time partying while shooting in San Diego, Mr. Scott wanted to keep an on-going rivalry between “Maverick” and “Iceman”. He gave the entire team a direct order: Cruise and Kilmer could never go out drinking with the same group of cast members.
When filming was complete, producers realized that they forgot to shoot the love scene between “Maverick” and “Charlie’s”…so, they went back to get one last shot. The scene actually required some trickery because Kelly McGillis had just cut her hair short.
The term TOPGUN falls into the “popularly know as” category.
What is the Navy’s official acronym for TG?
(if you’re not in the Military, bet ya can’t guess it without “Google”)
Back in 1969 the acronym began as SFTI for U.S. Navy “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” program. In 1996, that name changed to NSAWC which stands for the “Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center”.
Before becoming big-screen actors, both Mr. Kilmer and Mrs. McGillis attended the prestigious art school named “Julliard”.
Therefore, “Charlie” knew “Iceman” before hooking up with “Maverick”.
Following the success of Top Gun, there was an estimated 500% increase of applicants for Naval Aviation programs. That’s truly “movie magic”.
Today those attending the Top Gun program will enjoy the school’s awesome location. Everyone knows that you can stroll across the street to hit the waves. You’re in Southern California, right?
Sorry. In 1996 the school moved from Miramar, which is just out-side of San Diego, to the desert heat (and at times freezing cold) small town of Fallon, Nevada. As such, with a short hour and a half road trip, you can “legally get a prostitute” or go gambling in Reno, NV. Also, you could cruise on out to Lake Tahoe for some time on the slopes. However you will have a tough time finding chicks in bikini’s without breaking out your $1 bills to “make it rain” while Rob Zombie blares in the background.
“Goose” and Meg were married in Top Gun; while filming, they began dating/getting dirty in real life.
During filming Top Gun, there was a major incident.
Art Scholl was one of the stunt pilot in TG. With an on-board camera mounted to his plane, he dove his aircraft down while performing a spin. Sadly, he was not able to recover from the stunt in time and died on impact with the Pacific Ocean.
Tom Cruise was only paid $1 million on the front-end for his premier role as “Maverick”.
Who knows what he’s made since it’s release. Experts estimate it to be a “sh*t-load of money”.
What’s Goose’s best line?
I’ll just leave the following and let you guys take it from here:
“I’m sorry, I hate it when it does that, I’m sorry.”