‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Could Upset ‘Elvis’ At Weekend Box Office As Tom Cruise Pic Flies To $500M Stateside

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Distribution sources are saying there’s a chance that Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick could top the box office this weekend in its fifth session with $32 million, a 28% decline week over week.

This will easily send the Tom Cruise movie past the half-billion point at the domestic box office; the pic already is the actor’s highest grossing of all time with $900 million-plus worldwide. Top Gun 2 continued to lead advance ticket sales today in the U.S., I hear.

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Should Top Gun 2 fly in with $30M+, it will soar above Warner Bros’ $85M Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis, which is eyeing $20M-plus, and Universal/Blumhouse’s Scott Derrickson-directed R-rated $16M horror film The Black Phone, which is spotting $15M$20M.

Mixed in we’ve got the third weekend of Jurassic World Dominion, which is looking at around $29M, off 51%, and the second weekend of Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear, which is also expected to be down 51% at $25M.

The great news in all of this is the depth and diversity of business and product at the box office; there’s the possibility that five movies could do m ore than $20M apiece. It’s another great sign for exhibition that moviegoing is still the most affordable form of entertainment, even in an inflation-fueled economy. NRG also reported this week that 88% of all moviegoers are very or somewhat comfortable in attending cinemas, the highest score in the Covid era. Comscore called last weekend at $165M for all ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada, 21% ahead of the same period in 2019. That remains the barometer year that continues to determine when we’ve fully recovered from the pandemic box office blues.

“Elvis” - Credit: Warner Bros.
“Elvis” - Credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Elvis, despite having a great world-premiere reception out of Cannes with the film festival’s longest standing ovation, faces an uphill battle. There is a disconnect between definite interest and total awareness and unaided awareness for the film, I understand. The movie is older-skewing and long at 2 hours and 39 minutes. Consider the fact that someone who is 50 years old was 5 when Elvis Presley died.

Should Elvis open to north of $20M at 3,900 theaters, it would arguably be the biggest opening for an adult demo wide release with that running time during the pandemic (House of Gucci was 2 hours and 38 minutes and debuted to a three-day total of $14.4M). Among non-franchise wide entries aimed at adults, The Lost City, with a $30.4M opening, is the best we’ve seen during the pandemic. Do the die-hard Elvis fans come out? The 60+ crowd has been hard to come by during the pandemic. You could say they have come out, and they’ve been going to Top Gun 2. Elvis is at 83% certified fresh, higher than Lurhmann’s previous 2013 feature The Great Gatsby (48% Rotten) which debuted to $50M.

Some are seeing a $30M opening for Elvis. Even by Tom Hanks’ opening standards for his non-franchise adult movies, that’s huge, and would rank up there with such starts as Sully ($35M), Saving Private Ryan ($31M) and Catch Me If You Can ($30M), and ahead of the actor’s recent movies A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ($13.2M) and Captain Phillips ($25.7M).

Fever and AMC offered a special promo for $10.99 tickets for Elvis. Warner Bros has promoted this movie non-stop since Cannes including a Graceland premiere, has full support from the Presley family, and has offered up fantastic late-night appearances by Austin Butler, who sublimely plays Elvis on screen…and off.

Check out Butler teaching Fallon how to dance like the King of Rock n’ Roll:

There was an early access fan event for Elvis last night in select cities. Thursday previews start at 5 p.m. in 3,200 locations. The pic will play in PLF, Dolby, Screen X, motion seats and drive-ins, while Lightyear sops up all the Imax auditoriums.

“The Black Phone” - Credit: Universal
“The Black Phone” - Credit: Universal

Universal

The Black Phone hopes to hook the 17-34 crowd. The pic is 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes which is healthy for a Blumhouse horror movie on the critic aggregator site. Ethan Hawke stars as a masked guy who abducts young children in the basement of his home. That is, until he kidnaps the wrong kid who receives clues from the killer’s previous victims on a disconnected phone. The last great Blumhouse opening in recent memory with an R rating and aimed at this teen demo was the pre-pandemic Ma, which debuted to $18M in May 2019. That was only 56% Rotten. Black Phone‘s screenplay is by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill (Doctor Strange, Sinister franchise), based on the award-winning short story by Joe Hill from his New York Times bestseller 20th Century Ghosts.

Juneteenth Monday saw the top 10 films per Box Office Mojo grossing $24.8M, making it the second biggest Monday of the summer to date (since the beginning of May) after Memorial Day, which saw the top 10 movies gross $45.5M.

(L-R) Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) in “Jurassic World Dominion” - Credit: Universal
(L-R) Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) in “Jurassic World Dominion” - Credit: Universal

Universal

Through the four-day holiday weekend, Jurassic World Dominion led with $67.7M. The Universal/Amblin movie topped all titles Tuesday with $7.1M, taking its running total to $266M.

Top Gun 2 was second Tuesday with $5.99M, and a running total of $480.7M. The pic posted a four-day holiday take of $52.55M.

Lightyear posted a four-day total of $57.1M. It did $5.86M on Tuesday, ranking third, with a running total of $63M.

 

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