December 3, 2022

Tom Cruise is taking the audience’s breath away, again. Nearly four decades after he first appeared as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in director Tony Scott’s Top Gun, Cruise is back in the cockpit for Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick. Flying past early estimates, the legacy sequel made $51.8 million on Friday, and is poised to deliver a career-best debut for Cruise, with a projected four-day haul of $150 million.

With an A+ CinemaScore, glowing reviews, and over two weeks of building buzz, many expect that it will end the extended Memorial Day weekend with around $153 million—a record. Maverick is already guaranteed to become Cruise’s biggest opener, easily outpacing his previous best, 2005’s War of the Worlds ($64.8 million). Going into the weekend, the industry was anticipating an opening between $85 million and $100 million, but there’s no stopping this film.

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With a hefty $170 million budget (plus publicity and other pandemic-related costs) to recover, Paramount should be pleased with the shape that Maverick is currently in. It’s the studio’s biggest opening day, beating out Iron Man 2’s $51.2 million haul in 2010, and if the $153 million estimate holds, Maverick will end up beating the current record holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

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Of the $51.8 million Friday haul, $19.3 million came from Thursday previews, and IMAX and PLF screens are contributing to around 40% of the film’s business. Paramount is expecting a $37.5 million Saturday, and a three-day finish at around $123 million.

Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is expected to clinch the number two spot with a $4.4 million Friday, and an estimated four-day haul of $21.8 million. This takes the superhero sequel’s running domestic total to over $375 million. The weekend’s other major wide release, 20th Century Studios’ counter-programmer The Bob’s Burgers Movie, is expected to finish its debut weekend with $19 million. That’s good for a third place finish, with $5.7 million from Thursday previews and Friday.

Downton Abbey: A New Era is looking at a 60% fall in its second weekend, and is expected to finish the extended weekend with $6.4 million after a $1.7 million second Friday. This should put it at number four. Overall, the film has touched the $30 million mark, but is still pacing far behind the first Downton Abbey movie, which tapped out with nearly $100 million in 2019. With $1.2 million on its sixth Friday, Universal’s The Bad Guys is expected to nab $6.4 million across four days, taking its running domestic total to over $80 million. Worldwide, the kid-friendly heist movie is closing in on the $200 million mark.

The flightpath is now clear for Maverick to keep dominating the box office for at least a couple more weeks, until Universal’s Jurassic World Dominion drops on June 10. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates.


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