Box office: Top Gun: Maverick debuts for Stratospheric at $124 million


Box office: Top Gun: Maverick debuts for Stratospheric at $124 million

LOS ANGELES, May 29 ( — Tom Cruise pulled off perhaps one of the most daring stunts of his career — getting audiences to go to the movies for something that didn’t involve superheroes.

Top Gun: Maverick racked up blockbuster ticket sales in its opening weekend, raising $134 million from a record-breaking 4,732 North American theaters. The all-American action-adventure from Paramount and Skydance is expected to raise $151 million by Monday, beating expectations while also setting a new high for Memorial Day opening weekends. That’s thanks to raving reviews, heaps of nostalgia, and Cruise’s return to the cockpit to perform actual aerial stunts as pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

Top Gun: Maverick is the highest-grossing debut of Cruise’s 40-year career and his first to surpass $100 million in its opening weekend. War of the Worlds, which opened in 2005 with $64 million, was previously Cruise’s biggest opening weekend.

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The 40+ audience, the people who were front and center when Paramount greenlit a 1986 sequel to Top Gun, came into force, which is impressive because that demographic was the most reluctant to return to theaters. The film’s positive word of mouth should help reach a younger audience who weren’t alive when Top Gun premiered 36 years ago.

David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, called the film’s three-day number “outstanding.”

“The source material remains strong, the execution is excellent and Tom Cruise makes sure it works flawlessly,” he says.

“Top Gun: Maverick” continues a stellar box office run for Paramount and marks the studio’s fifth film this year to start at number one. Without the help of comics or angry dinosaurs, the studio’s 2022 roster – which also includes Sonic the Hedgehog ($182 million in North America), The Lost City ($100 million in North America), ” Scream” ($81 million in North America) and “Jackass Forever” ($57 million in North America) – have been well received in theaters. It’s an impressive recovery, as Paramount barely released movies during the pandemic, instead sending big titles like Chris Pratt’s The Tomorrow War, director Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Eddie Murphy’s Coming 2 America to streaming services sent.

U.S. actor Tom Cruise arrives for the premiere of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ in London, Britain May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

Despite countless delays (the Top Gun sequel was scheduled for release in the summer of 2020, until COVID-19 disrupted those plans), Cruise insisted that Maverick shouldn’t follow in the footsteps of those films. The two-year wait has already paid off since the film received rave reviews. It has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A+” CinemaScore.

Joseph Kosinski directed the PG-13 Top Gun: Maverick, set decades after the original and sees Maverick training a new group of cocky aviators for a crucial task. The cast includes Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly and Val Kilmer, who played Iceman in the first Top Gun.

Top Gun: Maverick also needs theaters to justify its whopping $170 million production budget, which doesn’t include the tens of millions spent promoting the film to global audiences. Those efforts included a spectacular premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, culminating with eight fighter jets flying over the Croisette (the French government paid for these). Skydance Media co-produced and co-financed the film.

Only one film, Disney and 20th Century’s The Bob’s Burgers Movie, was bold enough to go up against Top Gun: Maverick. For a film based on a long-running animated TV show, The Bob’s Burgers Movie has grossed an impressive $12 million at 3,425 venues, enough for third place on the box office. The film was expected to close Memorial Day with $15.3 million.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” landed just behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which fell to #2 on the domestic box office after three weeks. Disney’s latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe fell 50% over its fourth weekend of release and added $16 million from 3,805 theaters. The superhero sequel, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, has grossed $375 million to date.

At No. 4, Downton Abbey: A New Era has plummeted 63% since opening, raising $5.9 million between Friday and Sunday. It is estimated to have grossed $7.5 million from 3,830 theaters through Monday. After two weeks in theaters, the sequel to the hit British TV series has grossed $30 million in North America and $68.9 million worldwide on the big screen. The sequel cost $40 million to produce, meaning the latest Downton adventure has a long way to go before it breaks even.

Universal’s heist animated comedy The Bad Guys rounded out the top five with $4.6 million from 2,944 locations. As of Monday, the family-friendly film should gross $6.1 million, which will take its domestic tally to $82 million.

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