And… boom, just like that, Top Gun: Maverick is going to be Tom Cruise’s biggest domestic grosser. The Skydance/Paramount outing grossed another $25 million on Friday, down just 52% from its opening day of $52 million (which had a preview of $19.2 million) and carrying its national total at $230 million. The $170 Million Legacy Sequel Is Moments From Surpassing Steven Spielberg’s $235 Million Lifetime Accumulation War of the Worlds. Yes, there is inflation to take into account, Impossible mission’$181 million would be about $375 million adjusted, but that can only be a caveat for a week or two.
The 52% Friday-to-Friday drop is as low as I could find for the post-Memorial Day Friday weekend among “big” openers since Madagascar (-42% after a $13.9M Friday) and The longest yard (-46% from a Friday opening of $16.1 million) in 2005. The comparison has nothing to do with Memorial Day weekend (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Fast & Furious 6, Solo the different x-men films, etc.) but rather of Clint Eastwood American sniper and Mel Gibson The The passion of Christ.
War actor/biopic Bradly Cooper opened wide (after 22 days off the platform) with a weekend start of $89M Friday-Sunday / $107M Friday-Monday MLK in 2015. It fell just 40% to $18 million on its second “wide release” on Friday and earned $64.6 million in the Friday-Sunday period, down just 28% and up crossing $200 million at the end of this second wide-release weekend Also down 40% on Friday #2 (after opening on a Wednesday) and $36 million in its second Friday-Sunday image was The passion of Christ. This faith-based blockbuster started with $128 million on its Wed-Sun debut in March 2004 and ended with $370 million.
Both of these films played a huge role both for moviegoers in general and for those who otherwise wouldn’t usually venture/adventure to the multiplex for (almost) anything else. Whereas maverick is an entirely secular and disconcertingly apolitical movie (drink every time someone says “the enemy” or “fifth generation fighters”), it struck terror with consumers who think all Hollywood movies are comic book movies and liberal screeds. Inaccurate as that may be, the film has been embraced as “one for us” among those who otherwise wouldn’t show up, as well as Tom Cruise fans, regular moviegoers, and those who just want to see a well-oiled film. , a non-fantasy, adult-oriented Hollywood hit machine.
The fact that all of these come in a pretty healthy, kid-friendly package is the icing on the cake. It is simplistic (and unfair) to call Top Gun: Maverick “American Sniper for children”, but… It is possible that with regard to the first legs, Top Gun: Maverick could play the same. We can assume a possible gross of $85 million (-35%) in the second weekend, bringing its ten-day consumption to $290 million. If so, then A) the film will be just above/below American sniper (and World War Z) $547 million lifetime gross and beyond all non-Impossible mission film never recorded for (for now) War of the Worlds ($600 million).
That (or something over $250 million by Sunday) would already make it Cruise’s ninth-biggest after adjusting for inflation, behind the $310-440 million like Top Gun, Rain Man, The Firm, War of the Worlds, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Impossible mission and Mission: Impossible 2. If he plays like these two “exception to the rule” hits, then he will win plus/minus 1.74x his respective “end of weekend two” total. Assuming it makes $85 million this weekend (which would be the biggest second-weekend gross ever for a movie whose Friday-Sunday opening gross was less than 174 million), 1.73 x $290 million = $502 million.
Aladdin earned $356 million out of a ten-day total of $186 million, which is 1.91 times its second weekend accumulation, but let’s not get carried away just yet. If it comes out of here just like Men in Black III ($179m/$111m) he might have to settle for just $467m domestic. Even a race like Puss in Boots (which opened with $34 million then fell 3% on weekend two and 25% on weekend three before tumbling off a cliff after Thanksgiving with a total of $149 million) still gets Top Gun: Maverick (assuming a 50% decline from Jurassic World: Dominion) just over/under $500 million.
Yes, those are crazy comparisons, but they’re incredibly strong daily takes (including just -21% overseas on Friday, bringing its global total to $434 million). Whereas Jurassic World: Dominion will take away Top Gun: MaverickIMAX and PLF screens in much of the world next weekend, the Navy actor still holds a unique position as the event movie of the summer for adults. There’s the buzz, the reviews, the word of mouth, the old-school “action drama about normal people” hook, and everything else (including the long legs for beloved movies) already associated with Tom Cruise. and the Superior gun franchise.
To paraphrase a summer 2000 hit, I call it a perfect storm.