Friday Box Office: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Tops $500 Million, ‘Lightyear’ Plunges 74%

Even if Top Gun: Maverick ends up just below Elvis atop the domestic box office in its fifth weekend, it won’t be for a lack of trying. Paramount and Skydance’s $170 million action drama earned another $8.25 million on its fifth Friday, dropping 26% from last Friday for a new $499.472 million domestic cume. Tom Cruise’s legacy sequel is passing $500 million domestic by the end of this sentence. It’s looking like a $30.1 million fifth-weekend gross for the Joseph Kosinski-directed flick, which would be A) a drop of just 33% and B) the second or third-biggest fifth-weekend gross alongside Titanic ($30.1 million) and Avatar ($42 million). That brings its domestic cume to $521 million by Sunday night. Presuming a continued 53/47 domestic/overseas split and a thus-far solid opening weekend in South Korea, Top Gun: Maverick should end tomorrow night just over/under the $1 billion mark in global grosses.

Among domestic milestones, it’ll have passed Wonder Woman ($412.5 million from a $103.5 million Fri-Sun debut) and Shrek 2 ($441 million from a $108 million Fri-Sun/$128 million Wed-Sun debut) to be the leggiest $100 million-plus opener ever. It will have earned 3.24x its $160.5 million Fri-Mon Memorial Day weekend opening, thus outpacing even Walt Disney’s Aladdin ($356 million/$117 million) among big Memorial Day launches. It got some of those IMAX and PLF screens back this weekend, and it’s all primed for the Independence Day weekend to get yet another boost, even if 60-70% of the country might not be in an “America, F*** Yeah!” mood at the moment. With around $950 million globally as of Friday, it’ll today pass Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (over/under $950 million) to be the biggest global earner of 2022 and the second biggest since 2019 behind Spider-Man 3 version 2.0.

Meanwhile, no slouch itself, Universal and Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion earned another $7.4 million (-53%) on its third Friday for a likely $26.16 million (-56%) third weekend gross. That’s a sharper drop than Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (-53% for a $28 million gross and $333 million 17-day total), but not to an excessive degree. Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael’s $185 million dino threequel will still pass $300 million domestic tomorrow and it’s already become just the third Covid-era Hollywood flick (after Godzilla Vs. Kong and F9) to pass $100 million in China. Yes, it’ll end up with around half of what Jurassic World ($227 million) and Fallen Kingdom ($267 million) earned in China, but that’s more about China’s struggles with boosting Hollywood grosses than any disinterest in the Jurassic series. If it continues accordingly in the rest of the world, the film should end tomorrow with over/under $750 million global.

Alas, hopes of a weekend whereby the top five films all earned $20 million (for the first time since July of 2016) were dashed due to comparatively miserable legs for Walt Disney’s Lightyear. The well-reviewed but (comparatively) indifferently received sci-fi actioner earned $5.417 million (-74%) on Friday. That’s the second-biggest second-Friday drop ever for a Pixar movie, behind the 78% drop for The Good Dinosaur. Remember Onward, which underwhelmed with a $39 million debut and whose second Friday fell on March 13, 2020 as the world shut down due to global Covid? It dropped just 73% on its second Friday. The $200 million Toy Story spin-off will earn just $18 million (-64%) on weekend two for an $89 million ten-day cume. Once again, Pixar now has its own Solo: A Star Wars Story, coupled with the knowledge that the casually curious can catch it on Disney+ in early August.

Lightyear isn’t bombing because of right-wing handwringing over a same-sex kiss between two married grandmothers, nor because Patricia Heaton took to Twitter and accused Disney of cutting off Buzz Lightyear’s penis. That kind of disingenuous rabble-rousing is no more a substantive reason for its failure than was First Man’s soft box office due to Ted Cruz retweeting a false controversy about the Damien Chazelle flick lacking in onscreen American flags. I don’t know what to do about journalists reporting on folks like this ginning up social media controversies for sport and spite, but it’s now become a “like clockwork” reaction to every pop culture refurbishment. These people do not deserve a seat at the debate table. Lightyear is a bomb because nobody wanted to see a “not Toy Story” Buzz Lightyear prequel origin story any more than they wanted to see a young Han Solo prequel origin story.

In better news for Walt Disney, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned $521,000 (-56%) on Friday (as it premiered on Disney+ last Wednesday) for a $1.8 million (-61%) eighth weekend and $409.2 million domestic cume. It’ll outgross Captain America: Civil War ($408 million in 2016) and Iron Man 3 ($409 million) in North America. It should be over/under $950 million worldwide this weekend to become (domestically and globally) the third biggest “no Iron Man or Spider-Man” MCU movie behind only Black Panther ($700 million/$1.346 billion) and Captain Marvel ($427 million/$1.128 billion), and that’s without an otherwise expected $150-$200 million from Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and China in pre-Covid times. Your move, Thor: Love and Thunder, but honestly (especially sans those territories) anything over $700 million is a relative win. Everything Everywhere All at Once will earn $500,000 (-47%) in weekend 14 for a $66 million cume.

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