"Top Gun: Maverick" has raked in a whopping $548.6 million since it premiered in theaters ten days ago. The Tom Cruise sequel to 1986's Top Gun has shattered multiple box-office records and is one of the most popular movies on multiple streaming platforms. The patriotic action film has served as a call to action for some Americans as internet search trends for becoming a fighter pilot soar to new heights.
Shortly after Top Gun: Maverick was released on May 27, the internet search trend "how to become a fighter pilot" went absolutely parabolic, hitting a new record high. The movie, or perhaps US military propaganda, produced by Hollywood, has spurred patriotic fervor, something the military has desperately needed as recruiting in the last several years has been dismal.
Last week, we pointed out that recruiting tables for the Navy were popping up in the lobbies of movie theaters showing the patriotic film, a move certainly made by the service to boost enlisting numbers by playing off the emotions of moviegoers.
Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas, commander of Air Force Recruiting Service, told Fox News the military would use Top Gun: Maverick to boost recruitment. A similar phenomenon was seen during the first release of Top Gun during the Cold War.
"We did get a good recruiting bump from 'Top Gun' in 1986 when I went to the theaters and saw 'Top Gun' with my friends in '86," Thomas said. "I was already excited about military aviation, but I got even more excited.
"We expect 'Top Gun: Maverick' to do the same," he added. "You know, whether people want to aim high or fly Navy, we just want them to get excited about serving the nation in some capacity."
The release of the film and soaring search trends of how to become a fighter pilot (remember, most enlisted don't earn their wings but rather become maintenance crews or security forces or logistics) come as war in Ukraine crosses the 100-day mark and risks mount of further escalation.
The question remains if the movie will spur a new wave of enlistments as the US and NATO allies continue to resupply Ukraine with weapons and show no signs of backing down.