Maverick’ opens with $248 million worldwide

Tom Cruise broke his own box office bests over the weekend, as Skydance and Paramount’s

Top Gun: Maverick soared to infinity and beyond during Memorial Day holiday frame. The Joseph Kosinski-directed legacy sequel, also starring Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller and Jon Hamm, grossed $124 million during the Friday-Sunday period. The film will gross around $151 million over the Friday-Monday period, either way, the second-biggest Memorial Day weekend opening behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($128 million/$153 million in 2007). Given the searing buzz (including an A+ from Cinemascore), I wouldn’t be surprised if Paramount finds $1 million between their couch cushions (or a bulk ticket purchase courtesy of, uh, Blom Smooze) to push it back by time the big finals came out, but I digress.

Speaking of Blom Smooze, the three-day figure alone is almost double his Friday-Sunday opening weekend personal best, which was the $62 million debut of Mission: Impossible Fallout in July 2018 and Steven Spielberg’s $65 million Friday-Sunday opening (from a $112 million Wednesday-Monday holiday start) War of the Worlds in June 2005. The four-day gross is larger than any non-Impossible mission Where War of the Worlds Tom Cruise movie from The company ($158 million in 1993) and Jerry Maguire ($154 million in 1996). Tom Cruise’s stardom peaked at a time when $30 million was a big budget, $15 million was a solid opening, and $200 million worldwide was an absolute commercial success. Superior gun grossed $176 million in 1986, which would be around $420 million in ticket prices in 2022.

26 years ago, Tom Cruise Impossible mission opened with a Friday-Sunday gross of $45 million (the fourth-biggest behind Batman forever, Jurassic Park and Return of Batman) and a then-record six-day gross of $75 million during its Wed-Mon Memorial Day weekend. 22 years ago, Mission: Impossible 2 opened with $58 million on the Fri-Sun portion (behind only The lost World and The Phantom Menace) of a $92 million debut album on Wednesday. Cruise has experience setting box office records, it’s just been a while. Besides his six Impossible mission movies and War of the Worlds (which grossed $235 million domestically, still a cruise record), the actor’s biggest Friday-Sunday opening was the $37 million debut in early 2013 for Kosinski’s Oversight. The post office-Spider Man wave of mega-buck openings seemed to coincide with Cruise’s comparative decline as a box office draw.

Plus, Cruise’s blockbuster status is entirely dependent on Impossible mission movies since the infamous summer of 2005, when he got a little too excited on the Oprah Winfrey show (he was performing in front of Oprah’s audience, but the clip became one of the first examples of going viral on Youtube). Most photos of Cruise since knight and day in 2010 explicitly claimed that Tom Cruise was still a global box office star. Top Gun: Maverick, however, is the case of a major actor reprising his first or second most iconic lead character for the first time in 36 years. While I would argue that the movie wouldn’t have opened as well had it been just another big summer tentpole in a non-Covid universe in the summer of 2019 or the summer of 2020, it hit paydirt as something the multiplex missed.

To answer the $170 million question that’s been haunting me since 2018 (when this movie was originally made), yes Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is absolutely a star character on par with Ethan Hunt. Tom Cruise may be relatively limited bankability in a character/IP-driven marquee era when it comes to playing a new or fresh character like Jack Reacher, “not James Bond in Knight and day” or “that guy in edge of tomorrow.” However, he’s still worth that generous backend deal when he plays the protagonist in Top Gun: Maverick. Again, this is reminiscent of the later years of Harrison Ford. Ford hasn’t been an outright opener since What lies below in 2000. However, put it in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Where Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it is worth its weight in gold.

Ford’s biggest opening before the summer of 2008 was Air Force Onewhich broke the R-rated record with a $37 million launch in July 1997. That previous record holder was… Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt Interview with the Vampire with $36 million in November 1994, which was still a record for a non-summer opening weekend. But Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the first Indy movie since 1989, opened with $100 million on its Friday-Sunday frame and $150 million on the Thursday-Monday Memorial Day weekend. That seems like the comparison we should all have made for Top Gun: Maverickand in this case, the reviews and the buzz are even better. India 4 earned $312 million domestically at the end, which sounds like a “pessimistic” long-term prediction for Top Gun: Maverick.

Same frontloading on par with Solo: A Star Wars Story, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Apocalypse, Fast & Furious 6 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End gives it $295-315 million domestically. The film received almost universally positive reviews, as well as the aforementioned A+ Cinemascore rating. He played 58% male, 55% over 35, 66% Caucasian. 49% said it exceeded their expectations and 30% said they would see it again in theaters. The theatrical slate is unforgivable due to a mix of studio cowardice, streaming-specific priorities and post-production delays caused by Covid. Top Gun: Maverick might have legs closer to a December release from Tom Cruise (A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai, Jack Researcher, etc.) than a busier first Memorial Day weekend. It could become the event movie of the summer for adults.

If it’s like the first two Impossible mission Movies ($181 million on an early record six-day high of $75 million and $215 million on a Wednesday-Monday frame of $92 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($179m/$77m), it will gross between $350m and $375m domestically. If it’s like legs Men in Black III ($179 million/$69 million) or wearing pearls ($199m/$75m), so it will end up being just over/under $400 million. Legs like A Quiet Place Part II ($160m/$57m) and then it will end with $427m, or basically tied to the inflation-adjusted total of Superior gun. The pie in the sky scenario is Aladdinwhich made $353 million off a $117 million launch in 2019. That would give Top Gun: Maverick $456 million. It might challenge Doctor Strange 2 and Jurassic World 3 for domestic summer wreath.

The artistic reputation of Credit Cruise, the generational nostalgia for Superior gun and the character of Maverick, two years of delays caused by Covid and the final product which received great reviews and the “I got to see that in IMAX” buzz. At its finest, the Joseph Kosinski-directed action drama mixes the genre products of its sci-fi adventure starring Cruise Oversight with the knee-deep emotional melodrama of his spectacular knockout firefighter drama Only the brave. It mimics some of Tony Scott’s early visual styles while offering a relatively weighted sincerity and (even compared to the PG-rated Superior gun) four-quadrant healthiness. Plus, everything Paramount has done well this year with Scream, Jackass Forever, The Lost City and sonic the hedgehog 2, keep doing it. They just scored their second biggest opening behind iron man 2 ($128 million).

The film grossed $248 million worldwide during its worldwide debut, not including everything it earned domestically and internationally on Monday, breaking Tom Cruise-specific records in 32 markets. The film’s $124 million overseas gross is mostly tied to its $124 million Friday-Sunday domestic debut, which means it’s playing 50/50 so far. China, Russia and Ukraine are not in play, but the film does not need them. It could surpass $300 million worldwide by tomorrow, and even just 2.0x

the global multiplier will push it to over $600 million, making it Cruise’s third highest grossing behind Ghost protocol ($694 million) and To fall ($791 million). An exorbitant global total for Top Gun: Maverick could finally convince Hollywood that China is both a lost cause and an unnecessary variable. Either way, Tom Cruise and Paramount are probably partying like it’s 1996.

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