The Need for Speed
Paramount’s action-adventure sequel Top Gun: Maverick zoomed to the top of the box office with a projected $124 million three-day domestic debut and a $151 million four-day holiday frame. A $124 million overseas launch from 62 markets lifts the film to a $248 million global start, becoming the top opener for a Tom Cruise title in 32 international territories.
Domestically, that’s the highest Memorial Day three-day weekend of all time, exceeding 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($114.7M), 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand ($102.7M), and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($100.1M). This also marks by far the biggest opening of lead star Tom Cruise’s career, a status previously held by 2005’s War of the Worlds ($64.8M).
The audience was 55% ages 35+. Compared to other older-skewing movies of the pandemic era, that’s slightly higher than The Last Duel (51%) and West Side Story (54%), and slightly lower than the No Time to Die (57%).
The audience was also 58% male. Compared to some other male-targeted films of the pandemic-era, that’s more than The Last Duel (52%) but less than:
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (61%)
- No Time to Die (64%)
- The Batman (65%)
- Jackass Forever (68%)
- The Northman (also 68%)
The film performed exceptionally well outside of the New York-Los Angeles bubble. Notable markets that over-indexed include Jacksonville, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, and Tampa Bay.
Premium formats comprised 22% of the box office, including IMAX at 15%.
The opening weekend result gives Paramount a lot to celebrate following three years of release delays. Top Gun: Maverick’s marketing campaign kicked off back in July 2019 with a personal appearance from Tom Cruise at San Diego’s Comic-Con. The film was featured on the cover of the CinemaCon 2020 edition of Boxoffice Pro magazine—only to have the event and the film’s planned release date canceled because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After another round of release delays caused by the pandemic, the first reel of Top Gun: Maverick screened at CinemaCon 2021. Tom Cruise followed up that engagement with theater owners by being the only major star to attend a theatrical exhibition convention in 2021, personally attending Paramount’s CineEurope 2021 presentation to introduce footage of his upcoming films with the studio. That connection with exhibitors reached a crescendo this April when theater owners in attendance became the first public audience to see Top Gun: Maverick in its entirety at CinemaCon 2022.
“We believe in the viability of theatrical, we’ve tried to be opportunistic and wait for the environment to be right,” says Chris Aronson, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Paramount, speaking to Boxoffice Pro‘s Daniel Loria on Sunday morning. “Top Gun: Maverick has been a two-year wait. There were a lot of doubters leading up to this release [asking why] this movie hadn’t come out already—but I’m encouraged that the results are fantastic. I think the breadth of the audience is fantastic. The reception to the film is just off the charts. Some things are just worth the wait.”
The CinemaCon 2022 screening produced an overwhelmingly positive word of mouth among movie theater executives. The early buzz increased expectations for the film’s box office performance, with several analysts venturing to forecast the first $100 million domestic opening weekend for Tom Cruise. The opening weekend exceeded all expectations, nearly doubling Tom Cruise’s prior top opener, 2005’s War of the Worlds ($64.8M).
“[Top Gun: Maverick] has exceeded all of our expectations,” says Aronson. “You’re always cautiously optimistic. We always believed in this film. I saw it for the first time in 2019 and believed in it from the moment I saw it because it’s just epic motion picture entertainment. The exit polls bear that out, they’re just they’re stratospheric.”
Aronson’s comments refer to the film’s stellar results from exit polls, with general audiences now expanding the film’s overwhelmingly positive word of mouth through a pair of perfect ratings: an A+ CinemaScore and a 5/5 rating from ComScore’s PostTrak.
Other highlights in the top 10
After leading for the past three consecutive frames, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness dropped -49% to $16.4M in second place. It debuted with the #11 domestic opening of all time with $187.4M, then fell to the #31 second weekend of all time, the #42 third weekend of all time, and now the #92 fourth weekend. Multiverse has earned $497.9M overseas and $868.7M globally, led by South Korea ($48.3M), the U.K. ($46.5M), and Mexico ($38.5M).
Based on the animated comedy television show Bob’s Burgers, which has been airing since 2011, 20th Century Studios’ The Bob’s Burgers Movie was medium rare with a $12.6M start in third place. Compared to other recent animated TV-to-movie adaptations, that’s +21% ahead of 2018’s Teen Titans Go! To The Movies ($10.4M) and +41% ahead of 2017’s My Little Pony: The Movie ($8.8M).
After opening in second place last frame, Focus Features’ historical drama sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era declined -63% to $5.9M and fourth place. That’s steeper than 2019’s original Downton Abbey, which dropped -54% in its sophomore frame. Through 10 days, the sequel has earned $28.4M, or -51% behind the original’s $58.3M through the same point in release.
A24’s sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once declines -20% to $2.5M in seventh place. It’s now earned $56.8M, padding its lead as the top film in the history of indie distributor A24, ahead of 2019’s Uncut Gems ($50.0M), 2017’s Lady Bird ($48.9M), and 2018’s Hereditary ($44.0M).
Ever since New Year’s Day, Sony Pictures had ranked as the highest-grossing distributor of 2022 – until now. Paramount now takes the lead, although probably not for too long. (The rest of Paramount’s 2022 release schedule is relatively light, and Disney and Universal in particular have some huge summer movies coming out soon.)
- Paramount ($552.7M)
- Sony Pictures ($485.2M)
- Warner Bros. ($475.2M)
- Disney ($377.4M)
- Universal ($244.3M)
Total box office this weekend came in around $174.8M, which is:
- 2.3x above last weekend’s total ($75.5M), when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness led for a third consecutive frame with $32.3M.
- 8.6x the equivalent weekend in 2021 ($20.2M), as the box office was taking its first pandemic-era steps back to normalcy and Spiral led for a second consecutive frame with $4.5M.
- However, that was the weekend before Memorial Day. Comparing holiday weekends with holiday weekends, this frame is 2.1x the Memorial Day frame from 2021 ($80.8M), when A Quiet Place Part II led with $47.5M.
- -3% behind the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($181.2M), when Aladdin led with $91.5M. The equivalent weekend in 2019 also fell on Memorial Day.
Year-to-date box office stands around $2.63B. That’s:
- 4.5x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($579.2M).
- -40% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($4.42B).
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: May 27-29, 2022
|Title||Estimated weekend||% change||Locations||Location change||Average||Total||Weekend||Distributor|
|Top Gun: Maverick||$124,000,000||4,735||$26,188||$124,000,000||1||Paramount|
|Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness||$16,400,000||-49%||3,805||-729||$4,310||$370,773,979||4||Walt Disney|
|The Bob’s Burgers Movie||$12,600,000||3,425||$3,679||$12,600,000||1||20th Century Studios|
|Downton Abbey: A New Era||$5,900,000||-63%||3,830||10||$1,540||$28,478,945||2||Focus Features|
|The Bad Guys||$4,630,000||-25%||2,944||-761||$1,573||$81,372,900||6||Universal|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2||$2,520,000||-38%||2,900||-43||$869||$185,139,326||8||Paramount|
|Everything Everywhere All At Once||$2,510,345||-20%||1,187||-389||$2,115||$56,823,987||10||A24|
|The Lost City||$1,795,000||15%||1,027||-369||$1,748||$101,732,000||10||Paramount|
|The Northman||$252,000||-76%||388||-875||$649||$33,790,495||6||Focus Features|
|The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent||$214,000||-72%||340||-481||$629||$20,017,409||6||Lionsgate|
|2000 Mules||$156,000||-79%||340||-75||$459||$1,208,980||2||D’Souza Media|
|Freakscene — The Story of Dinosaur Jr.||$19,074||2||$9,537||$19,074||1||Utopia|
|The Automat||$3,100||53%||3||-2||$1,033||$229,633||15||A Slice of Pie Productions|
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