Maverick’ Will Absolutely Pass $1 Billion

Top Gun: Maverick earned another $44 million (-20%) on its fourth Fri-Sun weekend, with $52 million over the Juneteenth holiday frame. That will bring its domestic cume up to $473 million in 25 days of release. It’s now Tom Cruise’s biggest domestic grosser even counting inflation. It nabbed the third-biggest fourth-weekend gross ever (not counting American Sniper which went wide with $89 million in weekend four), just ahead of Black Panther ($40.8 million) and The Force Awakens ($42.3 million) and behind only Avatar ($50.3 million). Even Spider-Man dropped 37% in weekend four (over the Memorial Day holiday in 2002) while this 15% drop is closer to Avatar (-26%) and American Sniper (-24% in its fourth weekend of wide release) than Spider-Man (-37%) and The Passion of the Christ (-39%).

Meanwhile, with another $39 million (-25%) overseas, the Paramount/Skydance flick has topped $885 million worldwide and should pass $900 million tomorrow or Tuesday. Since Titanic was distributed overseas by 20th Century Fox (where it earned $600 million domestic and $1.8 billion in 1997/1998), Top Gun: Maverick is technically Paramount’s biggest “all mine” global grosser ever. With help from South Korea next weekend, it’ll certainly pass $1 billion worldwide and may do so right over Independence Day weekend. It’ll certainly be the biggest domestic earner of the summer and is now the frontrunner for the worldwide crown as well. As for the rest of the year, honestly, only Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November and Avatar: The Way of Water in December have a legitimate shot at displacing it.

This is the part where I tell you that it’s now possible that Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel has a shot at passing $600 million domestic, which would make it Paramount’s biggest “original release” grosser of all time ahead of Titanic (which earned $658 million counting the 2012 3-D reissue). A *normal* rate of descent from this point onward would give it $550 million by the end, and this film has been anything but normal from opening day. Moreover, broken record alert, there just aren’t many big live-action tentpoles between now and, uh, the September 23 reissue of Avatar or Warner Bros.’ Black Adam on October 21. Lightyear wasn’t an obstacle and Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru will likely sink or swim regardless of the competition.

Elvis may play well next weekend among irregular adults who saw the trailer before Top Gun: Maverick and Thor: Love and Thunder opens July 8. Jordan Peele’s Nope should break out on July 22, but after that, it’s Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train on August 6 and… uh… yeah. Due to a variety of factors, Disney prioritizing Disney+ over theatrical (Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers damn well should have been in theaters), a Covid-caused post-production logjam that kept (for example) Black Adam out of the summer, counterprogramming like Kevin Hart’s The Man from Toronto and Jennifer Lopez’s Shotgun Wedding being sold to streamers, general Hollywood skittishness (HBO Max’s Father of the Bride remake might have played well theatrically) over releasing less-than-surefire theatricals, there aren’t many big movies this summer (especially for adults).

It’s on track to be the leggiest $100 million-plus opener ever. It’ll be leggier than The Force Awakens ($937 million/$248 million) when it passes $479 million on Tuesday. It’ll be leggier than Wonder Woman ($412.5 million from a $103.5 million debut) when it tops $505 million and leggier than Shrek 2 ($441 million from a $108 million Fri-Sun/$128 million Wed-Sun debut) when it reaches $517 million. Among Memorial Day openers, it’ll be leggier than Aladdin ($356 million from a $117 million Fri-Mon debut) when it passes $487 million. If this keeps up, well, it’s taking smaller drops than Avatar at the moment. Does that mean it’ll clear $700 million or even $800 million? Probably not, but it’s not like the picture has performed to expectations at any point in its run.

Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick has the reviews, buzz and pre-sold factors (the IP, Tom Cruise, the lack of superheroes or complicated mythologies) to make it that one must-see movie of the moment. It’s the date night movie of choice, the one that gets seen theatrically by irregular and general moviegoers who may leave the kids at a sitter and check out a movie once every month or two. That the PG-13 film is frankly more “wholesome” than the PG-rated original means the kids can tag along too, not unlike (ironically) Joseph Kosinski’s PG-rated Tron: Legacy in 2010. It’s almost heartening that adult audiences are showing up for a star-driven ’80s/90s blockbuster instead of just a superhero movie like Captain America: Civil War or Captain Marvel that pretends to be one.