FRIDAY MIDDAY UPDATE: It’s looking like a record opening for Memorial Day weekend as Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick is set to earn $142.4M over four days, which will easily overtake Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End which did $139.8M. It’s taken 15 years for that record to be broken. Friday for the Tom Cruise sequel is looking like $50M with an estimated 3-day of $117M. That will make Top Gun: Maverick the second biggest opener for Paramount after Iron Man 2 which debuted to $128.1M, and ahead of 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($100.1M). Top Gun 2 is also the second biggest opening day for a Paramount title after Iron Man 2‘s $51.1M.
Look, even if these numbers recede, this is far and away (no pun intended, Mr. Cruise) the biggest opening for the 3x Oscar nominated, near 60-year old blockbuster star. See, industry, it certainly paid off for some studios to hold their movies during the pandemic until cinemas reopened.
When asked during his master class at Cannes whether straight to streaming was an option for the Skydance co-financed movie, Cruise exclaimed, “No, that’s not going to happen ever” which triggered great applause. “That was never going to happen.”
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: After a 36-year wait, the Tom Cruise sequel Top Gun: Maverick finally took off to a massive $19.3 million in previews from Thursday 3 pm showtimes and a one-time 7 pm Tuesday fan event.
That’s the highest-grossing preview in Paramount Pictures’ history and the highest-grossing Memorial Day preview in history; And of course, it’s the best for Cruise. Early projections heading into the weekend were $80M-$100M over four days, and a high octane start such as this could easily propel Top Gun: Maverick to the best Memorial Day weekend opening ever, besting the $139.8M four-day total of 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
Without a question Top Gun: Maverick is also looking to be the best opening of Cruise’s career, easily leaving behind his 2005 three-day cume of War of the Worlds which was $64.8M.
Everything is working in Top Gun 2‘s favor: It’s the widest release ever at 4,735 theaters and has 5 out of 5 stars on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, with a 96% positive and an enormous 84% definite recommend. PLFs (31%) and Imax (21%) combined repped 52% of preview ticket sales. Imax alone counted $4.1M in previews, the best ever for the exhibitor with a Paramount title, a Cruise movie and a top 10 all-time Imax result as well.
Also juicing bucks for Top Gun 2 is a 97% Certified Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes after a month’s worth of buzzy global premieres and a current audience score on RT of an amazing 99%.
The previous big preview for Paramount was 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with $16M, which was on a Tuesday and resulted in a $62M Wednesday (previews repped 25% of that figure). Best Thursday previews for a movie opening over Memorial Day weekend actually belongs to Disney’s Star Wars: A Solo Story which saw $14.1M, but only repped 40% of its first Friday’s $35.3M. That movie was panned by fans and yet resulted in a $103M four-day holiday opening.
Thursday previews began at 3 pm for the Paramount/Skydance feature. In addition, there was also a “Top Gun” Tuesday with a large premium format, Imax, and Dolby screens opening their curtains at 7 p.m. for one show alone. We hear the majority of the sequel’s preview cash was made yesterday.
Top Gun: Maverick blows away Cruise’s previous Thursday preview record, that being 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout which earned $6M.
Top Gun: Maverick means a little something extra to exhibition and studios overall: Outside of older guys attending, which Cruise always attracts (Fallout pulled in 41% men over 25), the hope is that this sequel plays wide, from under 25 to Cruise female fans who hung his posters in their bedrooms and lockers during the 1980s. Last night saw unweighted a turnout of 57% guys to 43% women. Fallout‘s Thursday night repped 26% of its first-day Friday of $22.8M before going on to make $61.2M.
Elsewhere last night, 20th Century Studios/Disney’s The Bob’s Burgers Movie saw $1.5M in previews from shows that began at 5 pm The pic is 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a current audience score of 96%. A $10M-$14M four-day launch is expected at 3,425 US-Canada locations. Next to other previews, Sing 2 did $1.6M on its Tuesday early shows, Encanto did $1.5M on Tuesday previews while The Bad Guys did $1.2M on the Thursday night before its Friday opening.
Among regular ranked movies yesterday, Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned $2.4M at 4,534 theaters, off 14% from Wednesday for a running three-week total of $354.4M.
Focus Features’ Downton Abbey: A New Era was second with $1.3M, down 11% from Wednesday for the first week’s take of $22.6M at 3,820 locations.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys Was the third yesterday with $576,000, +1%, at 3,705 venues and a running five-week total of $76.7M.
A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once booked at 1,576 posted a ninth Thursday of $426K, -16%, and a running cume of $54.3M.
Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drew around $330K, -4%, at 2,943 for a seven week running total of $182.6M.