Updated May 30, 2022 - Economy

"Top Gun: Maverick" breaks Memorial Day weekend box office record


Paramount and Skydance’s huge weekend opener for “ Top Gun: Maverick” is now the biggest in Memorial Day weekend history.

Why it matters: Top Gun's smashing debut means we are "officially in the realm of consistent momentum, or at least in the realm of normalcy at the box office," said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

By the numbers: The highly anticipated sequel brought in $156 million at the domestic box office as of Monday morning, per Comscore, and $252.7 million worldwide, per Paramount.

  • The film has ousted Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End," which brought in $153 million in its 2007 release, as the top-performing Memorial Day opener of all time.

Be smart: The movie's older audience makes its massive debut even more notable. According to Paramount, roughly 55% of the film's viewers were over 35. The first "Top Gun" movie debuted in 1986.

  • "Top Gun: Maverick" was released on more than 25,000 screens globally, making it Paramount's widest release in its history, per Paramount.
  • The movie was originally scheduled to be released in 2020, but was pushed back two years due to the pandemic.

State of play: The movie has so far gotten rave reviews from both consumers and critics alike, which means repeat viewers are expected this weekend.

  • The film's success shows just how much audiences trust Tom Cruise to continue delivering at the box office, four decades into his career.
  • "He is really unique," said Dergarabedian. "He has become this action movie go-to star in an era where stars are becoming increasingly hard to find."

Between the lines: This is the first Cruise-starring movie to debut with more than $65 million at the domestic box office.

  • The film debuted 28% above Cruise's last big hit, "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" in 2018.

Catch up quick: "Top Gun: Maverick" is the latest pandemic-era film to surpass $100 million at its domestic weekend box office opening.

Be smart: Cruise has leaned more heavily into action films in the past decade with franchises like "Mission: Impossible" and "Jack Reacher."

  • Action films are becoming more popular at the box office in the streaming era.

What's next: Heading into the rest of the summer, Dergarabedian said a slew of non-action films are expected to do well — a hopeful sign for theaters.

  • "Lightyear," Disney's animated sci-fi film about the origin of Buzz Lightyear, will debut in June.
  • "Nope," Jordan Peele's sci-fi horror film, will premiere in July.
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