Skydance and Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick continued to take moviegoers’ breaths away in its second worldwide weekend. The film, directed by Joseph Kosinski, earned another $86 million in its second weekend. That brings its domestic total to $291.6 million, well above the $235 million cume of Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds in the summer of 2005. That means Top Gun: Maverick is already Tom Cruise’s biggest domestic grosser ever, by a healthy margin. With a new global cume of $548.6 million, it’s already above the over/under $545 million totals of Bradley Cooper’s American Sniper, Brad Pitt’s World War Z and Cruise’s own Mission: Impossible II. It is already Cruise’s fifth-biggest global grosser behind only War of the Worlds ($600 million), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($683 million), Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ($694 million) and Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($792 million). It is quickly soaring to infinity and beyond.
That’s the biggest second weekend ever for a film that opened below $174 million in its Fri-Sun frame. It fell just 32% from its debut Fri-Sun frame. That’s the smallest drop ever for a $100 million-plus opener, just below the 33.2% drop (after a $108 million Fri-Sun/$128 million Wed-Sun debut) for Shrek 2 over Memorial Day weekend. The earlier “smallest drop” for an “opened on a Friday” $100 million opener was Spider-Man, which dropped 37% from a $114 million debut and eventually earned $404 million domestic. Should Top Gun: Maverick play likewise, it will end its run with $524 million domestic. Among recent leggy Memorial Day weekend openers, legs between Men in Black III ($179 million from a $111 million ten-day cume) and Aladdin ($356 million/$185.5 million) gives Top Gun: Maverick $465 million- $560 million domestic. Even legs like Solo from this point would push it past $415 million.
The $170 million legacy sequel, which has earned rave reviews, white-hot word of mouth, and an A+ Cinemascore, is playing like a steroid-infused, blockbuster/franchise variation on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. As noted yesterday, those two films played huge both to general moviegoers and those who otherwise do not generally venture out to the multiplex for (almost) anything else. While Maverick is an entirely secular and bemusingly apolitical movie (drink every time someone says “the enemy” or “fifth-generation fighters”), it has hit paydirt with consumers who think that all Hollywood makes are comic book movies and liberal screeds. However inaccurate that might be, the film has been embraced as “one for us” among those who otherwise wouldn’t show up, as well as playing to Tom Cruise fans, regular moviegoers, and those who just want to see a well-oiled, non-fantastical, adult-skewing Hollywood blockbuster machine.
If Top Gun: Maverick is the de-facto event movie of the summer for older moviegoers or anyone wanting a tentpole not involving superheroes or fantastical hero’s journeys, even if Pete Mitchell is a proverbial superhero akin to Batman, Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, James Bond and John Wick. Warner Bros.’ Elvis may well benefit from a deluge of infrequent or older moviegoers seeing its trailer between May 27 and June 24. Top Gun: Maverick could pass Doctor Strange 2 and wherever Jurassic World: Dominion ends up to be the biggest domestic earner of the summer. That would mark a first for Paramount since 2009 (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and a first for Cruise, for a Memorial Day opener and for any non-fantastical movie since John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II in the summer of 2000. Either way, I imagine that James Cameron is currently cosplaying his favorite Rocky training montage.