Look carefully at Tom Cruise’s flight jacket in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the iconic 1986 hit. The patches are different, a move that some see as an accommodation to the Chinese. The Japanese flag and Taiwanese flags are removed, possibly at the request of the Chinese co-financiers of the film.
Texas film and pop culture analyst Rob Weiner says it’s all about the money. “Because China is such a tremendous market and consumer of American films it’s not surprising that they’re not going to put in things that will necessarily offend the political powers that be in China,” he tells KTRH News.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz expresses outrage. “Top Gun is an American classic, and it’s incredibly disappointing to see Hollywood elites appease the Chinese Communist Party,” Senator Cruz tells the Washington Free Beacon. “The Party uses China’s economy to silence dissent against its brutal repression and to erode the sovereignty of American allies like Taiwan. Hollywood is afraid to stand up for free speech and is enabling the Party’s campaign against Taiwan.” Senator Lindsay Graham complained to TMZ, “I hate to see the flag removed because of Chinese financing.”
China limits the U.S. to only allowing 34 American films to be shown in their country each year, and Hollywood would like to see that number increased. In 2018 China sold more movie tickets than were purchased in all of North America.