Maverick takes off with career-best opening for Tom Cruise

Top Gun: Maverick took off at the box office this weekend and it’s blowing through the tracking and my relatively modest box office predictions. We knew the opening would be huge and Tom Cruise’s best career, but early estimates have Top Gun: Maverick reaching incredible heights.

Top Gun: Maverick grossed an estimated $124 million during the three-day portion of Memorial Day weekend. It looks like the four-day total could be as high as $151 million, but we’ll update you on those exact numbers when they’re revealed tomorrow. This will be the best Memorial Day weekend total we’ve seen in a very long time and there’s a chance there’s enough speed here to overtake the previous record holder, the one from 2007. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($153 million over four days). This is entirely possible, as sometimes the actual numbers increase from the first estimates on occasion.

Worldwide, Top Gun: Maverick opened to $248 million, which is the best opening Tom Cruise has seen on the global front. By deadline, 11.1 million moviegoers will have seen the sequel so far through late Monday which blows through the 1986 film’s opening weekend audience of 2 million. So how did do Top Gun: Maverick outperform? Well, the movie biased over 55% of over 35s and 58% males. What’s encouraging is that the audience was also 42% female, meaning they came out big, and while the film has aged, the demo’s breakdown for younger audiences is also impressive. The under 35s represented 45% of the audience and the 18-34s 37%. This means the movie is being released to a very wide audience and not just older fans nostalgic for Maverick’s return. Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX, perfectly summed up the resounding success of Top Gun: Maverick:

“If you thought movies were dead, go see Top Gun: Maverick then tell me what you think. This film announces the return of the summer blockbuster and is a catalyst that will accelerate the demand for cinema like an F-18 breaking the sound barrier. There’s no way you can sit in a cinema, with a giant screen and chest-pounding speakers, and come away thinking there’s another way to experience it. Top Gun: Maverickand hats off to Tom Cruise, Joe Kosinski and their intrepid creative team for what they’ve accomplished.

Where is Top Gun: Maverick headed from here? All the signs therefore point to a very strong word of mouth. The 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes was already bragging rights, but the 99% audience score on the site shows that it appeals to almost everyone who has seen it. Then there’s the fact that the film earned a very rare “A+” CinemaScore from audiences on opening day. You could say it’s right Superior gun fanboys pushing those scores, but it’s been so positive that it’s clear to me that its positive reception is widespread between old-school fans and a new generation of moviegoers. It was all a team effort between all the powers involved in this sequel, but the lion’s share of the film’s success belongs to Tom Cruise. He’s seriously a one-man marketing machine and probably one of the last legit movie stars we have working in the business today. It’s a win for the box office as a whole and for a man who truly cares about the cinematic experience.

Falling to the second is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which grossed $16.4 million over three days. That’s a 49% drop and his second below the 50% threshold, which is stellar considering Top Gun: Maverick certainly ate some of its audience over the weekend. I guess this shows there is room for multiple blockbusters, even if one is 4 weeks old at this point. Nowadays, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness grossed $370.7 million at the domestic box office. Its global numbers are coming in and will be added to the final box office report tomorrow.

Debuting in third is Bob’s Burgers movie information which grossed $12.6 million. That’s about a million less than I predicted, but given that the film is aimed at a very select audience of fans of the series, it’s a very good start in my book. It’s sure to get a bit of a Memorial Day bump and I think we’ll call this one a win at the end of the day before it goes on to have a great life on PVOD and streaming. The film also scored an “A” CinemaScore, which means fans of the series really loved the film.

Slipping to fourth place is Downton Abbey: A New Era which grossed $5.9 million over the three-day span. The four-day gross will bring it closer to my second-week prediction, but its 63% drop shows how preloaded the movie really was and isn’t really going over the mainstream fan base. I’ll stop short of calling it a flop, because once some international figures are in, the sequel will be fine, but Focus Features probably feels a bit underwhelmed with its performance. Nowadays, Downton Abbey: A New Era grossed $28.4 million at the domestic box office.

Completing the top five is The villains which grossed $4.6 million over three days. That’s a 25% drop and a decent hold for a movie that’s now six weeks old. This film is truly the surprise hit of the last few weeks and it continues to shine by staying in the top 5 at the box office since its opening. Nowadays, The villains grossed $81.3 million at the national office.

In other big box office news, after ten weeks of release and currently available to stream, The lost city crossed the $100 million mark with a total of $101.7 million to date. It’s a win for romantic comedies at the box office because they haven’t been what they used to be in recent years, and a win for the female demo that really drove the film to this level of success. Also, kudos to Paramount Pictures killing it this year between this movie, Top Gun: Maverick, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Jackass Foreverand Scream. They’re probably popping champagne over there as we speak.

What do you think of this weekend’s box office estimates? Don’t forget we’ll update tomorrow once the final four day numbers are in!

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