The Cannes Film Festival literally kicked into overdrive on Wednesday as Tom Cruise and his Top Gun: Maverick team touched down at the Palais for a high-octane premiere that included eight fighter jets zooming above the event, expelling smoke in red and blue to match the colors of the French flag.

The actor was already destined to be the biggest draw of Cannes 2022 long before he hit the Croisette, where Top Gun: Maverick is getting noticeable promotion by Paramount ahead of its global rollout on May 25. But even by the festival’s own standards, Cruise received the sort of rapturous reception that could only befit one of Hollywood’s most successful and globally renowned stars.

Having taken part in a career retrospective earlier in the day — a “MasterClass Conversation” with French journalist Didier Allouch in the 1,000-seat Debussy Theatre — Cruise was gifted with another fest treat by way of a tribute, led by Thierry Fremaux in honor of his long-running career at the center of international pop culture. Fremaux delivered remarks (in French) and then introduced a clips reel of Cruise’s big-screen work.

But before that took place, Cruise arrived at the Cannes red carpet just before 7 p.m. and spent a healthy 10 minutes cruising up and down the street to greet fans, some of whom had been waiting for hours under the blazing Côte d’Azur sun for the movie star to emerge. He made it worth their while by signing autographs and DVDs and posing for selfies.

As seen on the Palais big-screen, he had to be pulled away from the crush of admirers to make his way in front of the swath of photographers and pose alongside his director, Joseph Kosinski, and blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer. They were joined by fellow Top Gun: Maverick stars Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm (who straightened Cruise’s bow tie on the carpet), Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis, Lewis Pullman and others.

Top Gun: Maverick has been winning rave reviews from critics since it made its world premiere earlier this month in San Diego atop the retired aircraft carrier USS Midway.

“Your enjoyment of Top Gun: Maverick might depend on how much you’re willing to shut out the real world and surrender to movie-star magic,” wrote THR’s chief critic David Rooney. “Which this superior sequel — directed with virtuoso technical skill, propulsive pacing and edge-of-your-seat flying sequences by Joseph Kosinski — has in abundance.”

More to come. 

Joseph Kosinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Greg Tarzan Davis, Lewis Pullman and Jon Hamm attend the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France.
Dominique Charriau/WireImage

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