Top Gun: Maverick took off at the box office, grossing over £196million worldwide and securing the biggest opening weekend ever for a Tom Cruise film.
Amid post-pandemic malaise for the industry and fears that audiences may never return to cinemas in large numbers, the 1986 blockbuster sequel has collected an estimated £151m (£119m) in the USA.
The all-American action adventure from Paramount and Skydance screened in a record 4,732 North American theaters, with its takings setting a new record for Memorial Day opening weekends.
There followed a string of dazzling reviews for a nostalgia-laden film in which Cruise return to the cockpit to perform real aerial stunts as pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
Box office receipts make it the 59-year-old superstar’s first $100 million opening weekend.
“These results are ridiculously fantastic,” said Chris Aronson, president of national distribution for Paramount.
“I’m happy for everyone. I’m happy for the company, for Tom, for the filmmakers.”
Although he’s undeniably one of the biggest stars in the world, Cruise isn’t known for his massive blockbuster openings.
Before Maverick, its biggest domestic debut was Steven Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds, which opened to $64m (£51m) in 2005.
Streaming debut ‘will never happen’
Top Gun: Maverick had an extremely long trip to the cinemas.
It was originally slated to open in the summer of 2020 – with its marketing campaign technically launching in July 2019, but has been repeatedly delayed due to the pandemic.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the sequel would have cost $152 (£120m).
Even as the years passed and many other companies chose to compromise on hybrid releases, Cruise and Paramount did not give in to their desire for a major theatrical release – refusing to accept a site debut. streaming.
“That would never happen,” Cruise said at this month’s Cannes Film Festival.
Along with the record number of North American theaters showing the film, it also opened in 23,600 locations worldwide after what media analyst Paul Dergarabedian described as “one of the longest runs for a campaign of marketing for any film”.
The build-up saw ornate premieres of fighter jets on an aircraft carrier in San Diego and Cannes, where Cruise also received an honorary Palme d’Or, and a royal premiere in London attended by Prince William and his marries Kate.
Maverick holds his ground against superhero behemoths
In the new film, Cruise reprises the role of Maverick, who returns to train the next generation of pilots, including Miles Teller, Glen Powell and Monica Barbaro.
Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer, reprising her role from the also-starring 1986 original.
Maverick is among the best openings of the pandemic era, behind Spider-Man: No Way Home with $260m (£206m), Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness with $187m (£148m sterling) and The Batman with $134m (£106m). )
Notably, Maverick is the only non-superhero film on this list – and has also attracted a wide range of age groups, with around 55% of the audience over the age of 35.
Cruise is hoping for similar success with his upcoming Mission: Impossible films, which were largely filmed in the UK and are to be published in 2023 and 2024.
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