Box Office: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Debuts at Stratospheric $124 Million

LOS ANGELES, May 29 (Variety.com) — Tom Cruise may have pulled off one of the most daring stunts of his career: tricking audiences into going to the movies for something that doesn’t involve superheroes.

“Top Gun: Maverick” scored blockbuster ticket sales in its opening weekend, grossing $134 million from a record 4,732 North American theaters. Paramount and Skydance’s all-American action adventure is set to gross $151 million through Monday, defying expectations while setting a new record for Memorial Day opening weekends. That’s thanks to dazzling reviews, doses of nostalgia, and Cruise’s return to the cockpit to perform real aerial stunts as pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

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

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Audiences over 40, the people who were in the lead when Paramount launched a sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun,” proved to be strong, which is impressive because this demographic has been the most reluctant to return. in the rooms. The film’s positive word of mouth should come in handy in reaching younger audiences, which weren’t alive when “Top Gun” opened 36 years ago.

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

“The source material remains solid, the execution is excellent, and Tom Cruise makes it work impeccably well,” he says.

“Top Gun: Maverick” continues a stellar box office streak for Paramount, marking the studio’s fifth film this year to open in first place. Without the aid of comic books or rampaging dinosaurs, the studio’s 2022 slate – also made up of “Sonic the Hedgehog” ($182 million in North America), “The Lost City” ($100 million in America du Nord), “Scream” ($81 million in North America) and “Jackass Forever” ($57 million in North America) – resonated strongly in theaters. It’s an impressive rebound since Paramount has released virtually no movies during the pandemic, instead sending headlines 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.

U.S. actor Tom Cruise arrives at 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 supposed to open in the summer of 2020 until COVID-19 scrambled those plans), Cruise was adamant that “Maverick” wouldn’t follow in those footsteps. movies. The two-year wait has already started to pay off as the film has been enthusiastically reviewed. It has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A+” CinemaScore.

Joseph Kosinski directed the PG-13 “Top Gun: Maverick”, which picks up decades after the original and sees Maverick form a new group of arrogant airmen for a crucial mission. 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 $170 million production budget, which doesn’t include the tens of millions spent promoting the film to audiences around the world. These efforts included a splashy premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, which culminated 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 movie, Disney’s 20th Century “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” had the guts to open against “Top Gun: Maverick.” For a movie based on a long-running animated TV show, “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” served up an impressive $12 million from 3,425 theaters, enough for third place at the box office. The film is 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 No. 2 after three weeks atop the domestic box office charts. Disney’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe installment dropped 50% to add $16 million from 3,805 theaters in its fourth weekend of release. The superhero sequel, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, has grossed $375 million to date.

At No. 4, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” has plunged 63% since its opening, raking in $5.9 million between Friday and Sunday. It is estimated to gross $7.5 million from 3,830 theaters by Monday. After two weeks in theaters, the sequel to the big-screen sequel to the beloved British TV show has grossed $30 million in North America and $68.9 million worldwide. The follow-up movie cost $40 million to produce, which means the latest “Downton” adventure has a ways to go before it hits black.

Universal’s animated heist comedy “The Bad Guys” rounded out the top five with $4.6 million from 2,944 locations. By Monday, the family film is expected to gross $6.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $82 million.

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