‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Earns Tom Cruise’s First $100 Million Premiere

Forget breaking the sound barrier: Tom Cruise just flew a major career milestone.

The 59-year-old superstar just scored its first $100 million opening weekend for Top Gun: Mavericks. The long-running sequel has grossed an estimated $124 million in its first three days in North American theaters, Paramount Pictures said on Sunday. Including international screenings, its total global value is $248 million.

It’s a supersonic start for a movie that still has the expansive skies of Memorial Day itself to make more cash. According to forecasts and estimates, “Top Gun: Maverick” could fetch more than $150 million by Monday’s close.

“These results are ridiculous and fantastic,” said Chris Aronson, president of Paramount’s domestic distribution. “I’m happy for everyone. I’m happy for the company, Tom and the filmmakers.”

While there’s no denying that Cruise is one of the biggest stars in the world — possibly even “the last movie star,” according to various headlines — Cruise isn’t known for massive blockbuster openings.

Before Maverick, his biggest domestic debut came in 2005 with Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, which grossed $64 million. Then came 2018’s $61 million Mission: Impossible – Fallout. It’s not that his films don’t make money in the long run: they just don’t have a big upfront investment.

PHOTOS: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Wins Tom Cruise’s First $100 Million Opening

Top Gun: Maverick’s journey to theaters has been a long one. The 1986 sequel to the late Tony Scott’s Top Gun was slated for summer 2020. Its marketing campaign technically started in July 2019. However, the pandemic thwarted those plans and delayed them several times. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, co-produced and co-financed by Skydance, the sequel reportedly cost $152 million to produce.

But even as the months and years pass and many other companies choose to compromise on the hybrid release, Cruise and Paramount haven’t wavered in their desire for a theatrical release. A streaming debut isn’t an option at all.

“That’s never going to happen,” Cruise said at Cannes.

It’s major, with 4,735 North American theaters (a record) showing “Top Gun: Mavericks.” It also opened in 23,600 locations in 62 international markets.

“It’s one of the longest runways of any movie marketing campaign ever. And it just makes the movie more exciting,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The movie is really waiting for the cinema to come back.”

The assembly was just as gorgeous, with a fighter-decorated premiere on an aircraft carrier in San Diego and at the Cannes Film Festival, Cruise also won an honorary Palme d’Or and a royal premiere in London, attended by There is Prince William and his wife Kate.

“When you watch this movie with the audience, you feel very special,” Aronson said. “The first major screening we had, the spontaneous applause of the film.”

Reviews are also excellent, with the film earning a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes. According to exit polls, 58% of its male audience gave it an A+ CinemaScore.

The new film puts Cruise back in the role of Maverick as he returns to the elite aviation training program to train the next generation of pilots including Miles Taylor, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Greg Tarzan Davis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman and Jay Ellis. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer reprise his role from the original while also starring.

“This reinforces the notion that cinema is a unique and vital outlet for people,” Dergarabedian said. “People are looking for great ways to escape from everything that’s going on in the world.”

“The Maverick” is now one of the opening films of the pandemic era, still ahead of “Spider-Man: Nowhere” at $260 million, followed by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” at $187 million and $1.34 The billion-dollar Batman.

Notably, Top Gun: Maverick is the only non-superhero movie of the bunch. It also draws audiences of many ages to the theater. An estimated 55% of the audience is over 35 years old.

“Superhero movies aren’t for everyone. This movie is for everyone, and that’s what sets it apart,” Aronson said. “The theatrical exhibition business faces challenges, but it’s a shot in the arm.”

“Bob’s Burger Movie” is the only new film that dares to rival “Top Gun.” The animated film, released by 20th Century Studios and Disney, earned $12.6 million in 3,425 locations. It opened in third place, behind Doctor Strange 2, with $16.4 million in theaters in its fourth weekend.

Top Gun will continue to have its own skies until Jurassic World: Reign hits theaters on June 10.

“It has a really good, open market to play with,” Dergarabedian said. “Tom Cruise has always been about consistency. His films are about marathons. It’s his first sprint movie to hit the box office. Here he gets sprints and marathons.”

Ticket sales for theaters in the U.S. and Canada are expected Friday through Sunday, according to Comscore. Final domestic data will be released on Tuesday.

1. “Top Gun: Mavericks,” $124 million.

2. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $16.4 million.

3. “Bob’s Burger Movie,” $12.6 million.

4. Downton Abbey: A New Age, $5.9 million.

5. “Bad Guy,” $4.6 million.

6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, $2.5 million.

7. “Once Everywhere,” $2.5 million.

8. “The Lost City,” $1.8 million.

9. “The Man,” $1.2 million.

10. “F3: Fun and Frustration,” $1 million.

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