(CNN) — “Top Gun: Maverick” felt the need for speed at the box office this weekend.
The sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, in which Tom Cruise reprises his most iconic role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, grossed an estimated $124 million domestically for its three-day opening weekend, according to Paramount.
It not only exceeds expectations, which initially projected that “Maverick” would earn more than $80 million, but also marks Cruise’s biggest opening weekend in his more than 40-year career. It’s Cruise’s first $100 million opening weekend and third-biggest debut of the year.
Paramount said “Maverick” is expected to gross $151 million over the four-day Memorial Day weekend at the U.S. box office. If the sequel, in which Cruise’s Maverick teaches a new group of Top Gun pilots, lands at that number on Monday, it will be one of the highest openings ever for a Memorial Day weekend.
Globally, the film has grossed $248 million so far, according to Paramount, which said 55% of the US total came from ticket buyers over the age of 35.
“Maverick” got a lot of buzz over the weekend with high anticipation and even higher reviews at 97% on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
The big weekend is therefore a victory for Cruise, Paramount and especially the cinemas.
“Maverick” was supposed to hit cineplexes in 2020, but was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. Other theatrical movies pivoted to streaming, but “Maverick” waited until audiences could experience it on the big screen — a strategy Cruise was adamant about.
This strategy has paid off and demonstrates that the big screen experience still matters to a wide range of consumers.
“The outstanding performance of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ marks an important turning point,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNN Business. “This is a very significant weekend both for the industry and for Cruise who has demonstrated his undeniable star power and true movie star status at a time when that kind of accolade has become increasingly important. rare.”
The other good news for “Maverick” is that it could have box office legs in the weeks to come. The film earned a perfect “A+” CinemaScore and has relatively no box office competition until “Jurassic World: Dominion” opens in two weeks.
“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ has a clear lead,” Dergarabedian added. “By the time ‘Jurassic’ hits theaters, [‘Maverick’] will probably already have generated hit numbers. It should enjoy solid play in theaters for the rest of the summer.
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