June 22, 2024
Join us as we explore the box office performance of Top Gun, the classic 80s film starring Tom Cruise. We'll take an in-depth look at just how much money it made, its cultural impact, behind-the-scenes details, and more.

How Much Money Did Top Gun Make?

Welcome to our deep dive into the box office performance of the 80s blockbuster hit Top Gun. In this article, we will explore just how much money Top Gun made, as well as its cultural impact, behind-the-scenes details, and more.

Straightforward Reporting

First, let’s take a look at Top Gun’s box office earnings. According to Box Office Mojo, the film made over $356 million worldwide. Its domestic gross was $179.8 million and its foreign gross was $176.4 million. When adjusted for inflation, the film’s domestic gross is over $400 million.

Top Gun Box Office Gross Chart

These numbers are impressive, but what makes Top Gun stand out from other blockbuster hits of the 80s?

Key Insights

For one, Top Gun was a surprise hit. While it had big names attached to it, including Tom Cruise and director Tony Scott, it was a risky venture. At the time of its release, the action movie market was dominated by movies starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Top Gun was a different kind of action movie, with a focus on fighter pilots and a softer love story at its core.

Another interesting fact about Top Gun’s box office performance is that its success was largely due to repeat viewings. Fans of the film saw it multiple times, driving up its earnings. The soundtrack, featuring hits like “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone,” also played a role in the film’s overall success.

Comparative Analysis

Now, let’s compare Top Gun’s box office earnings to other hits of the 80s and movies released during that same year.

When looking at other blockbuster hits from the 80s like E.T. and Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark, Top Gun comes in third place in terms of domestic gross. However, Top Gun was released in 1986, while both of those movies were released earlier in the decade. Adjusting for inflation, Top Gun is the highest-grossing movie of the three.

When compared to other movies released in 1986, Top Gun is the highest-grossing film both domestically and worldwide. Its nearest competitor in terms of domestic gross is the comedy Crocodile Dundee, which made $174.8 million.

Cultural Impact

Top Gun’s box office success is not the only reason it’s considered a classic today. The film has had a significant cultural impact since its release. For starters, it’s considered a quintessential 80s movie, with its fashion, music, and overall aesthetic serving as a snapshot of the era.

Top Gun also had a significant impact on the military and recruitment numbers. After the film’s release, there was a surge in people wanting to join the Navy and become fighter pilots. The Navy even assisted in the making of the film, allowing the filmmakers to use their aircraft carriers and fighter jets.

Additionally, Top Gun is often cited as one of the first movies to use product placement in a significant way. From Ray-Ban sunglasses to Pepsi cans, the film was chock-full of advertising. This trend would continue throughout the 80s and beyond.


Next, let’s take a closer look at the production budget for Top Gun. The film had a budget of $15 million, which was fairly low for a big-budget movie at the time. However, due to the Navy’s involvement, the filmmakers had access to equipment that would have cost them much more if they had to rent it or build their own.

The film’s profit margins were significant, with it earning over 23 times its original budget. While there were some delays during production and some initial concerns about the film’s marketability, Top Gun’s success at the box office more than made up for any early setbacks.

Worldwide Performance

While Top Gun was a massive hit in the United States, how did it perform outside of the country? According to Box Office Mojo, the film made over $176.4 million in foreign markets. Its highest-grossing foreign country was Japan, where it made over $30 million.

Top Gun’s success abroad is notable, as action movies at the time often struggled to connect with international audiences. Its inclusion of a romantic subplot and memorable soundtrack likely helped its appeal overseas.

Economic Impact

Top Gun’s economic impact extends beyond just its box office earnings. The film played a significant role in the film industry and the economy overall. It brought attention to the Navy and helped recruitment numbers, as previously mentioned.

Top Gun also spawned a board game, a computer game, and multiple sequels and spin-offs. Its lasting impact on pop culture is undeniable.

Revisiting Top Gun

After over 30 years, Top Gun is still a beloved movie that has stood the test of time. It’s still a fixture in pop culture, with references to the film appearing in everything from TV shows to Drake songs.

While a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, is set to be released in 2022, the original film’s legacy remains intact. It forever changed the action movie genre and had a significant impact on popular culture as a whole.


In conclusion, Top Gun’s box office success and cultural impact cannot be understated. The film’s unique blend of action, romance, and memorable music made it a hit with audiences around the world. Its impact on the film industry and pop culture as a whole continues to be felt today.

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