Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun 2’ Soars to Record $151M Opening

Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun 2’ Soars to Record $151M Opening

Superheroes are not the only game at the pandemic-era movie box office.

In a promising sign for the summer box office, Paramount and Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick scored the second-best Memorial Day opening of all time with a projected three-day domestic haul of $124 million and $151 million for the four days. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End remains the record holder with a Friday-Monday treasure chest of $153 million, according to Disney. (There’s been confusion all weekend about the Pirates‘ number. )

The film started off with a massive $51.8 million on Friday (May 27) — including $19.3 million in previews — as it opened in more than 4,700 theaters in North America.

Maverick‘s launch is also a career best for Tom Cruise, and is the first time he has had a film open to $100 million or more.

Overseas Top Gun2 are doing equally impressive business considering that they don’t play in Russia or China. The film opened to $124 million from 62 markets for an early global haul of $248 million through Sunday.

The release of the long-awaited sequel to the iconic 1986 movie is a defining moment for box office recovery, which so far has been largely fueled by superhero fare propped up by males ages 18 to 34.

More than 70% of Top Gun 2‘s audience was over the age of 25, including 55% over age 35, 38% over 45 and 18% over 55. The film was bestowed with an A CinemaScore by ticket buyers. And Imax and premium-format screens turned in a whopping 37% of the gross, while Top Gun 2 performed well throughout the country.

Heading into the holiday weekend, Paramount tried to temper expectations, since tracking showed the film opening to $92 million-plus. Yet many pundits believe the critically acclaimed sequel could soar well north of $100 million domestically. Tracking, once a favorite pastime of Hollywood, has become fraught during the pandemic era. Exhibitors were especially bullish on the pic and were already thinking it could hit $125 million to $150 million.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the film’s release for two years. Cruise, a tireless promoter, embarked on a global tour of marketing in recent weeks, which saw him stop at a world premiere screening in San Diego, the Cannes Film Festival, and a Royal-sponsored screening here in London.

Cruise might be one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but his films, including the Mission: Impossible movies, have never enjoyed the kind of mega-openings that other franchise installments (think Jurassic World and Fast & Furious ).). His films can play and continue to play.

To date, 2005’s War of the Worlds ranks as Cruise’s top domestic opening with a three-day gross of $64.9 million, followed by 2018’s Mission: ImpossibleFallout at $61.2 million, according to Comscore and not adjusted for inflation. The rest of his films have opened to less than $60 million.

Directed By Joseph Kosinski Top Gun : Maverick Cruise returns as the super-gifted, confident Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

The film, which presently sports a stellar 97% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, co-stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell and Ed Harris, while Val Kilmer also makes a brief appearance as “Iceman,” Maverick’s onetime nemesis-turned-pal. The film also features Lady Gaga ‘s ballad, “Hold My Hand” and Jerry Bruckheimer who directed the 1986 film.

Looking to provide counter-programming, Disney released 20th Century’s The Bob’s Burgers Movie in more than 3,400 theaters in North America. The PG-13 pic, based on the popular TV show that’s a favorite of teen girls, posted a subdued three-day tally of $12.6 million and $15.7 million for the four.

This article originally appeared in The Hollywood Reporter .

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