Top Gun: Maverick opens with $150 million at the Memorial Day weekend box office, and it’s the best opening weekend for any Tom Cruise movie.
Top Gun: Maverick is the first Tom Cruise movie in domestic box office history to open with over $100 million. Cruise, whose career began in 1981 with Endless Love, is one of the most internationally bankable stars still working today. The iconic actor is the lead of the increasingly stunt-driven and continually profitable Mission: Impossible franchise, but he has also held major roles in iconic standalone projects like Risky Business, Jerry Maguire, and Born on the Fourth of July. Those latter two films also earned him two of his three Oscar nominations (his third was for the 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson drama Magnolia).
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Although Cruise’s 1986 hit Top Gun, in which he played hotshot fighter pilot Maverick, wasn’t meant to be a franchise-starter, this weekend has changed that fact considerably. The decades-later sequel Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters on May 27, 2022, following a delay of several years caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing theaters to close in early 2020. The film follows Maverick as he is called in to train a brand new crop of young pilots, including Rooster Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of the original film’s Goose and who blames Maverick for his father’s death. The cast also includes Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Jake Picking, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Manny Jacinto, and Val Kilmer returning as Iceman.
Related: How Long Is Top Gun: Maverick?
Per Deadline, not only has Top Gun: Maverick taken off into the stratosphere, it has broken a record for Cruise. The film, which is set to close out the holiday weekend at $150 million, making it the first Cruise film to open higher than $100 million. It is also debatably the highest-grossing film to open on Memorial Day weekend, though there is contention from Disney, which claims that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End earned $153 million that wasn’t properly accounted at the time.
Top Gun: Maverick blows the original Top Gun’s opening weekend out of the water, but that is also due to the fact that the original film was more of a slow burn hit. That film opened at a paltry $8 million which, adjusted for inflation, comes out to roughly $21 million. It was number one in its opening weekend, but it was quickly knocked down by the Sylvester Stallone actioner Cobra before bubbling under as more of a sleeper hit, eventually rising back to the top after Cobra reigned supreme for three weeks, reclaiming its throne on its way to a domestic run of $176 million.
Now, the sequel to the pilot flick that could is competing in the big leagues with the comic book IPs that have conquered the pandemic-era marketplace. This incredible result for Top Gun: Maverick spells good news for Cruise’s upcoming blockbuster films. If this is the kind of opening weekend the star can pull for a sequel to a film that is almost 40 years old, his next Mission: Impossible outing, which is coming next year, is likely to do gangbusters as well.
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Brennan (he/him) is a senior writer at Screen Rant and a millennial who knows more about 80’s slasher films than he has any right to. A former host of the Attack of the Queerwolf podcast, Brennan has been writing and podcasting about pop culture (especially horror films) for a decade.
Brennan’s interests also include the Muppets, bubblegum pop from around the world, and reading (especially Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, the manga of Junji Ito, and novels of magical realism). His favorite film directors are Wes Craven and Pedro Almodóvar.
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