Top Gun was released on May 16, 1986 and eventually became a pop culture success. Few films appeared as definite as a sequel to the 1986 hit “Top Gun” in an industry rife with uncertainty. A Chinese investor recently bailed on ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ because of pro-U.S. theme.
Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY -0.33 percent, a Chinese tech titan, agreed to co-finance the film in 2019, hoping for a box office hit. However, when “Top Gun: Maverick” opens this weekend, it will do so without any funding from Tencent and will make no mention of the Chinese company that had previously boasted about its role in the picture.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Tencent executives pulled out of the $170 million Paramount Pictures production because they were concerned that Communist Party officials in Beijing would be furious about the company’s association with a film honoring the US troops. As relations between the US and China deteriorated, association with a pro-American tale became increasingly radioactive.
The reversal transformed “Top Gun: Maverick” from a film that once reflected expanding connections between China and Hollywood into a new emblem of larger tensions between the United States and China. In less than three years, Chinese businesspeople have gone from eager to fund Hollywood projects to avoiding them.
Western companies’ perceptions of China have transformed from an exciting growing market with 1.4 billion consumers to a tangle of uncertainty. “Top Gun: Maverick” has been denied a Chinese distribution, making it the latest in a long line of prominent Hollywood films to be denied a release in the country.
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