‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and Tom Cruise Met With 5-Minute Standing Ovation at Cannes

by Suzanne Halliburton

If you can gauge a movie by an audience reaction, then fans are going to love Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.

Yes, the crowd that gathered to watch felt all that need for speed and then some.

Variety reported that the audience at the Cannes Film Festival got to their feet and cheered for five minutes. And this was all before the movie even started. Yes, the idea of Tom Cruise reviving Maverick and Top Gun got everyone excited, even the chic elite who hang out on the French Riviera.

Tom Cruise and the cast of Top Gun: Maverick celebrate the movie screening at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)

Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick Were the Toast of Cannes

An award for the 59-year-old Cruise prompted the standing O. He received an honorary Palme d’Or, an award usually reserved for the festival’s top film. Will Top Gun: Maverick win that honor, too?

Cannes definitely hyped the movie before it even screened. Top Gun: Maverick, which tells the story of a group of fighter pilots, is pure spectacle, with its true-to-life gravity defining aerial stunts. So Cannes, to celebrate the movie, sent eight fighter jets above the theater. Each jet spewed red, white and blue smoke. Both the flags of France and the United States sport red, white and blue.

Karl Delossantos, a New York-based film critic, posted photos from the flyover to Twitter. He wrote “The TOP GUN: MAVERICK Cannes premiere is in full swing according to the flyby that scared the crap out of everyone (twice).”

Cruise Said He Loved Seeing the Faces of People Watching His Movie

Tom Cruise thanked the audience for watching Top Gun: Maverick. He probably was thinking “You can be my wingman, anytime.” But it came out like this:

“This is an incredible evening and an incredible time .. just to see everyone’s faces,” Cruise said. “It’s been 36 years since the first ‘Top Gun’ and we’ve had to hold it years for the pandemic.”

We’re wondering if Cruise ever heard “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash” as the movie got delayed. It initially was set for a 2019 premiere, then in 2020. The pandemic pushed it back to 2022. It’s set for broad release on May 27.

“This movie was a dream,” Tom Cruise said of Top Gun: Maverick before the screening. “We talked about it when filming. I just want to see everyone’s faces. There’s no masks and we’re in a movie theater. I’m going to take this all in and I feel very grateful. We’re here for you. I make all these movies for all of you and I’m very blessed to do what I do. Enjoy this evening. You all have made my life.”

Variety also reported that the appearance of Val Kilmer as Iceman on screen drew a big audience response. He’s one of the few characters in the movie and the sequel.

The premiere spectacle will continue in Europe. Top Gun: Maverick is set for a royal screening in London, Thursday. Movie producers are hoping that the Top Gun sequel will surpass Cruise’s biggest opening weekend, ever. So they’re shooting for the $169.3 million for the opening of The Mummy.