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The Real Reason Tom Cruise Pushed For A Top Gun: Maverick Theatrical Release

"Top Gun: Maverick" hasn't even hit theaters yet and people are already declaring it an action masterpiece, with critics far and wide handing out early praise and glowing reviews. The hotly-anticipated follow-up is expected to change the landscape of the post-COVID movie business and transform big-budget action films as a result of the movie's revolutionary filming tactics and unmatched aviation sequences, which see the actors actually inside the cockpits of their planes following weeks of intense flight training. Needless to say, "Top Gun: Maverick" is a movie that doesn't just deserve to be seen on a big screen — it's a requirement. And there's nobody who wants to get that point across more than Tom Cruise aka Maverick himself. 

"I love this experience," Cruise told the audience at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, May 18, when asked about seeing "Maverick" in theaters compared to streaming it (via IGN). "I want this experience not just for myself," he said, "but I know there are so many people who want this experience. I want other filmmakers to have that experience and have that as an outlet." 

During the filming of "Maverick," Cruise and the cast reportedly used aircraft from different military eras, including a P-51 and various helicopters. He and the others didn't actually fly the F-18 fighter jets that were featured in the military flick, but they were, in fact, inside the cockpits being filmed while actual Navy pilots steered the planes (via IGN). As a result, audiences will be treated to some of the most realistic flying sequences and action scenes in Hollywood history. And it's because of this that Cruise ultimately refused to offer "Top Gun: Maverick" as an option for streaming. 

Top Gun: Maverick was made to be watched with an audience

According to Tom Cruise, he and the others involved in the production of "Top Gun: Maverick" never intended on making a movie that could be streamed at home during opening weekend. Instead, it was his goal to make a film that would ultimately bring people together in theaters and make them feel things you can only feel when watching on the big screen. 

"Look at us all together," Cruise said, pointing to everyone in attendance for Cannes Q&A (via IGN). "We're all united ... in being able to come together as a community and share in a shared experience." Asked whether he ever considered bringing "Maverick" to a streaming app first, the Hollywood vet told the crowd: "That was never going to happen. Never." According to Variety, this answer sparked an eruption of applause. "I make my movies for audiences," Cruise added. "Because I am an audience, first and foremost."

According to director Joseph Kosinski, over 800 hours of footage was captured for "Top Gun: Maverick," with each action sequence being "hard-earned," as he told Empire Magazine. "Months and months of aerial shooting," Kosinski said. "We shot as much footage as the three 'Lord of The Rings' movies combined." Cruise said Wednesday at Cannes that the "Maverick" filmmakers specifically shot all those hours of footage knowing the final product would look best when shown in theaters. "There's a very specific way to make a film for cinema and I make movies for the big screen," Cruise concluded (via IGN). "Cinema is my love. It's my passion."