June 29, 2022



Maverick’ Cruising to $150 Million Memorial Day Opening

5 min read

At long last, Tom Cruise is entering the $100 million opening club.

Playing in 4,735 locations, the widest theatrical release in domestic box office history, “Top Gun: Maverick” is projected to earn $150 million over the holiday weekend. On a three-day scale, Paramount is predicting a $123 million haul. That’s easily a new record debut for Cruise, whose previous best — a $64.8 million opening for 2005’s “War of the Worlds” — is getting left in the dust.

The legacy sequel to Tony Scott’s swoony 1986 original kicked off with a bang, drawing a $51.8 million opening day, including $19.3 million in Thursday previews. That’s a record for Paramount Pictures, outdoing the $51.2 million opening day of 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” “Maverick,” which was co-financed and co-produced by Skydance, originally carried a projected opening between $85 million and $100 million over the long weekend, though momentum has only grown since.

“Top Gun: Maverick” was originally set to premiere way back when in the summer of 2020, setting its release date long before COVID-19 had entered the vernacular of the public. As the pandemic caused studios to overhaul theatrical schedules, many major releases found new homes on streaming services. Paramount sold films like Aaron Sorkin’s eventual Oscar contender “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and Michael B. Jordan actioner “Without Remorse” to streamers, ending up on Netflix and Amazon, respectively. But “Maverick” wasn’t for sale, a decision Cruise has affirmed he was adamant on. After sitting tight for two years, Paramount’s egg is now hatching into a golden goose.

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Cruise reunited with “Oblivion” director Joseph Kosinski for “Top Gun: Maverick.” Val Kilmer reprises his role as rival “Iceman” for the sequel, while Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Ed Harris also star. The rest of the cast is filled out with the likes of Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman and Monica Barbaro, playing a crew of young pilots that Cruise’s Maverick is training for combat.

If projections for “Maverick” continue to expand, the film could become the best Memorial Day opening of all time, potentially unseating the $153 million debut of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” in 2007.

Word on the street couldn’t be more auspicious for “Top Gun.” Paramount launched preview screenings weeks ago, beginning with a full premiere at CinemaCon in April, giving itself plenty of runway for buzz to build. Critics have been almost universally positive, with 97% of critics collected by Rotten Tomatoes offering their approval. Audiences are also loving the film, with “Maverick” scoring a maximum “A+” grade on CinemaScore.

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