Tom Cruise poses at the “Top Gun: Maverick” royal premiere in London Thursday. The event was attended by Prince William and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. (ALBERTO PEZZALI/Associated Press)
Tom Cruise poses at the “Top Gun: Maverick” royal premiere in London Thursday. The event was attended by Prince William and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

ALBERTO PEZZALI/Associated Press

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ wins Tom Cruise 1st $100 million opening (Infographic)

Cruise's previous top hits include "Mission Impossible" and "War of the Worlds."

May 31, 2022

The 59-year-old actor Tom Cruise earned his first $100 million opening weekend with “Top Gun: Maverick.” In its first three days in North American theaters, the long-in-the-works sequel earned an estimated $124 million in ticket sales, Paramount Pictures said Sunday. Including international showings, its worldwide total is $248 million.

According to projections and estimates, by Monday’s close following Memorial Day weekend, “Top Gun: Maverick” will likely have over $150 million.

Cruise is not known for massive blockbuster openings.

Before “Maverick,” his biggest domestic debut was Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” in 2005, which opened at $64 million. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” followed with $61 million in 2018.

Unlike many of Cruise’s films, “Top Gun: Maverick” had an extremely long journey to theaters. The sequel to the late Tony Scott’s “Top Gun” — released in 1986 — was originally slated to open in the summer of 2020. Its marketing campaign started back in July 2019 but was delayed by the pandemic several times. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and co-produced and co-financed by Skydance, the sequel reportedly cost $152 million to make.

But even as the months, and years, went by and many other companies chose to compromise on hybrid releases, Cruise and Paramount did not waver on their desire to have a major theatrical release.

“That was never going to happen,” Cruise said in Cannes.

A record 4,735 North American theaters showed “Top Gun: Maverick.” It also opened in 23,600 locations in 62 international markets.

“This is one of the longest runways for a marketing campaign for any film ever. And it only served to create more excitement around the movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “This movie literally waited for the movie theater to come back.”

The build to the film’s release has consisted of  fighter-jet-adorned premieres on an aircraft carrier in San Diego and at the Cannes Film Festival, where Cruise was also given an honorary Palme d’Or, and a royal premiere in London attended by Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Reviews are favorable, with the film notching a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, who were 58% male, gave it an A+ CinemaScore, according to exit polls.

The new film has Cruise reprising the role of Maverick, who returns to the elite aviation training program to train the next generation of flyers, including Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Greg Tarzan Davis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman and Jay Ellis. Actors Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer return, reprising his role from the original.

“Maverick” is now among the top pandemic era openings, still led by “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with $260 million, followed by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” with $187 million and “The Batman” with $134 million.

Notably, “Top Gun: Maverick” is the only non-superhero movie in the bunch. It also attracted a wide array of age groups to the theater. An estimated 55% of the audience was over 35 years old.

“Superhero movies aren’t for everybody. This movie is for everyone and that’s what sets it apart,” Aronson said. “The theatrical exhibition business has challenges ahead of it, but this is a shot in the arm for that.”

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” was the only new release that dared go up against “Top Gun.” Released by 20th Century Studios and Disney, the animated picture earned $12.6 million from 3,425 locations. It opened in third place behind “Doctor Strange 2,” which earned $16.4 million in its fourth weekend in theaters.

“It has a really nice, open marketplace to play,” Dergarabedian said. “Tom Cruise has always been about consistency. His movies are about the marathon. This is the first movie of his that is sprinting to big box office numbers. Here, he gets the sprint and the marathon.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

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