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“Mission: Impossible” may be Tom Cruise’s greatest claim to fame, but his latest blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” has blown that franchise out of the water this weekend with a domestic opening of $124 million from 4,735 theaters. The international total for the film also stands at $124 million, giving it a global launch of $248 million.
Not only has the Paramount/Skydance sequel given Cruise the first $100 million-plus opening of his career, but it is more than double the opening weekend of any “Mission: Impossible” film. Cruise’s previous opening weekend record was set by “War of the Worlds” with $64 million.
For Paramount, “Top Gun: Maverick” has hit a level of success the studio has not seen since the early 2010s when it was Hollywood’s top box office grossers with the “Transformers” franchise in its heyday and Marvel Studios still under its ownership. In fact, “Top Gun: Maverick” is currently just shy of Paramount’s all-time opening weekend record set by Marvel’s “Iron Man 2” in 2010 with $128.1 million. If ticket sales on Sunday exceed current industry estimates, that record could topple.
As for the extended Memorial Day weekend, estimates currently have “Top Gun: Maverick” earning a spectacular $151 million 4-day start, just shy of the $153 million Memorial Day record set back in 2007 by “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Again, “Top Gun: Maverick” is within reach of this record depending on how the rest of the holiday weekend plays out.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has also been the windfall that premium formats were hoping for, as Imax reported a Memorial Day weekend record estimate of $21 million domestic and $32.5 million global from “Maverick” screenings. Domestically, that result accounts for 14% of the opening haul for “Maverick.”
The good news gets even better when you look at the demographic data. While the nostalgia for one of the biggest hit films of the 1980s led to turnout skewing older than for a superhero or a “Fast & Furious” film with 55% over the age of 35, the audience segment with the largest share was actually moviegoers age 18-24 at 21%.
This means that younger audiences are showing significant interest despite “Top Gun” being before their time, and they are enjoying it just as much as their Gen X counterparts. The film has an A+ on CinemaScore and a 86% “definite recommend” rating from Comscore/Screen Engine’s Postrak, results that put it on the same level in terms of reception as Marvel’s acclaimed “Black Panther.”
With “Jurassic World: Dominion” not coming until June 10, the sky is the limit for “Top Gun: Maverick” as it is now in line to become the first Paramount movie since “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in 2011 to pass $300 million in domestic grosses.
Elsewhere on the charts, Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” now has totals of $370 million domestic and $868 million worldwide after adding a 3-day total of $16.4 million in its fourth weekend. As the summer progresses, “Doctor Strange” will serve as a benchmark for how various types of summer blockbusters — including “Top Gun: Maverick” — perform in a pandemic-era summer marketplace that will be much closer to pre-pandemic summers than last year.
In third is 20th Century’s new animated film “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” which is meeting pre-release projections with an estimated $13.3 million 3-day/$15.7 million 4-day opening. Largely driven by hardcore fans of the Fox animated TV series, reception for the film has been strong with an 86% critics and 95% audience Rotten Tomatoes score along with an A on CinemaScore. The question will be whether that positive reception can translate to interest among moviegoers who don’t watch “Bob’s Burgers.”
That jump from devoted fans to casual moviegoers isn’t happening with Focus Features’ “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” which is reporting a $5.9 million 3-day/$7.5 million 4-day total and taking No. 4 on the charts. The 3-day total represents a 63% drop from the film’s $16 million opening, sharper than the 53% second-weekend drop that the first “Downton Abbey” took. With $30 million through two weekends, the domestic total for “A New Era” has not exceeded the $31 million opening of its 2019 predecessor.
Whether it is “Top Gun: Maverick” peeling away more older audiences than expected or simply a reluctance from older coastal audiences interested in returning to theaters to see “Downton Abbey,” the strong word-of-mouth from the film’s release last weekend hasn’t paid off yet. Still, the film will turn a profit for Focus thanks to overseas grosses as the film has a global total of just under $69 million and counting.
Universal/DreamWorks’ “The Bad Guys” completes the Top 5 with $4.6 million 3-day/$6.1 million 4-day, giving it a total of $82.8 million domestic and $197.5 million worldwide. Just below it, A24/AGBO’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has added another $3 million in its tenth weekend in theaters after setting a studio record for A24, now holding a domestic total of $57 million.