Box office authority Comscore has solved a statistical dilemma that was popping up all night: They’ve verified that Top Gun 2 has a record four-day Memorial Day weekend opening here. It beats the four-day holiday start of 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($139.8M) and the four-day of 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126.9M).
What the hell was going on? Sources say Box Office Mojo incorrectly counted $13.2M in previews twice for the first day of At World’s End (so the four-day gross isn’t really $153M). Meanwhile, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened on a Thursday, so it’s technically designated as a five-day opener, and it made $151.9M over that span of time. I betcha Top Gun 2 beats that sum in four days as well. There’s just too much momentum here, especially coming off that rare A+ CinemaScore; a grade that bests the 1986 first installment’s A.
Paramount is calling Friday at $51.8M. If you back out $19.3M previews, Friday actually made $32.5M. The Melrose lot is expecting an uptick from that for Saturday of $37.5M (+15%). Three day is at $123M, still second-best for Paramount after Iron Man 2‘s $128.1M. It’s also the second-best opening ever for Jerry Bruckheimer after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6M). Imax and Premium large format screens are fueling 40% of the pic’s business.
What’s happening here? Why so much success? Sequels to legacy movies work, even if the IP is 36 years old, and audiences have been yearning to see the further aerial adventures of Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Is there a Risky Business sequel that’s been kicking around? And old people are certainly going here to Top Gun 2 in great numbers, with 45% over 45, 21% over 55.
The question is whether these numbers will shift to the younger folks as they discover the movie. Male to female ratio continues to be at 57% to 43%. Also a majority of the audience was over 25 at 87%. Diversity demos were 60% Caucasian, 15% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, & 13% Asian/other.
As we told you before, the pic is playing across the country, with the top 15 theaters being San Antonio, Nashville, Knoxville, Oklahoma City, three theaters in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Dallas. It’s like we haven’t seen a movie speak to the heartland like this since Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (that movie’s wide break over the 4-day MLK in 2015 posted $107.2M).
While Hollywood doesn’t like to always be associated with Red States, there is definitely an underserved marketplace for that audience and military movies such as Top Gun 2. Only four of the sequel’s top cinemas were from LA, and one from NYC. Days of Thunder 2, anyone?
By the way, if older moviegoers are heading to Top Gun 2, one of the films that’s getting bruised by that is Focus Features’ Downton Abbey: A New Era (c’mon there is an overlap; some older Tom Cruise fans do like upstairs/downstairs drama). Downton is seeing a 60% hit to its second weekend for $6.4M. Four-day is $8.2M, which will get the pic’s 11-day gross to $30.8M; which is 49% behind the first movie’s running total. As we saw in the pic’s meh opening last weekend, there’s no high stakes propelling people to make time for this.
Exclaims social media monitor RelishMix about Top Gun 2‘s wonderful shockwaves on social, “Timing is everything. It’s hard to imagine a more remarkable time in recent history to release Top Gun 2 in light of world events — not to mention Fleet Week is in NYC this weekend, too. Social awareness runs hot, with a total social media universe of 417.5M, including Skydance social at 5.8M at 3X over norms — fueled most on YouTube with a growing stack of 20+ owned videos clocking +275M views, a well fed set of Facebook videos at +31M views and a new wave of TikTok at 22M views.”
By comparison, Cruise last big tentpole, Mission: Impossible – Fallout had a social media universe of 245.5M, which propelled a $61M opening. Currently close to 60% of Top Gun 2‘s social media reach includes Instagram and TikTok videos.
In Cruise himself, Paramount has one of the biggest marketing machines, and he has continually been selling this movie to his 40M fans. Jennifer Connelly counts close to 5M on social, Val Kilmer has 2.4M, Miles Teller 1M, and Glen Powell has 352K across all platforms.
Nancy and I knew from the minute we saw this at CinemaCon, Top Gun 2 was going to be one of the owners of the summer box office, so it’s not a surprise to hear that RelishMix noticed “a conversation tone running positive with excitement and appreciation,” with BTS footage stoking social media.
“Fans describe their service in the Navy and aircraft that they piloted, as well as missions of fathers and other family members in service of the US military. The on-screen authenticity displayed by Cruise has fans standing in line to see this film on the big screen. Younger fans describe how these trailers and featurettes are bringing their dreams of serving to life,” reports the social media analytics corp.
Huge on social was the bit of James Corden flying with Cruise on three planes. By Thursday the footage reached 7.2M views.
Also by Thursday, the Lady Gaga song from the sequel, “Hold My Hand,” clocked 16M views.
Despite the gonzo success of Top Gun 2, total ticket sales for all movies look to be coming in at an estimated $218.9M from Friday to Monday. That will fall just outside the top ten Memorial Day weekends of all-time in the Comscore annals. The top four-day weekend was in 2013, when Fast & Furious 6 opened, and all pics at the domestic box office grossed $314.3M. The tenth-highest Memorial Day weekend was in 2009 with $221.9M, which was when Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian led all films. Last year’s Memorial Day weekend grossed $97.8M; that figure propped also by Paramount, which pulled moviegoers back in from the pandemic with A Quiet Place: Part II. This year’s holiday frame is +124% over that number.
EntTelligence has measured that 3.6M moviegoers have seen Top Gun: Maverick to date, which already beats the 2M who watched the original in its opening weekend of May 16-18, 1986 ($8.1M). Since Thursday, two out of every three moviegoers have watched the Paramount-Skydance sequel. The average ticket price made available to the public is $12.96, while the average ticket price for a Top Gun 2 PLF ticket is $16.41. In regards to Friday’s business, 54% of those who watched Top Gun 2 came before 7PM, which indicates the older-leaning nature of moviegoers, and how they’re now planning their visits to the cinema as they become comfortable with the pandemic. Thirty-one percent watched the film between 7-9PM while 15% saw it after 9PM.
20th Century Studios/Disney’s The Bob’s Burgers Movie cooked up an A CinemaScore, with PostTrak exits of 89% positive and a 69% recommend. Kids under 12 gave it a 91% positive, 70% recommend. Friday was $5.7M, which industry projections believe will steer the Fox animated feature toward $15.6M over 3 days and $17.3M over 4. Moms lead at 56% female, and 73% between 18-34 with only 11% under 17 years old. Diversity demos were 53% Caucasian, 23% Latino and Hispanic, 13% Black & 11% Asian/other. The movie’s best business was on the coast, where nine of its top ten runs came from, the only outlier being the Alamo Drafthouse in Lakeline in Austin, TX.
1.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 4,735 theaters Fri $51.8M, 3-day $123M, 4-day $150M/Wk 1
2.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 3,805 theaters (-729), Fri $4.4M (-48%), 3 day $17M (-47%), 4 day $21.8M, total $376.1M, /Wk 4
The Marvel movie will overtake Warner Bros.’ The Batman ($369.3M) as the highest grossing movie of 2022 to date.
3.) The Bob’s Burgers Movie (20th/Dis) 3,425 theaters, Fri $5.7M, 3-day $15.6M, 4-day $17.3M/Wk 1
4.) Downton Abbey: A New Era (Foc) 3,830 theaters (+10), Fri $1.8M (-75%), 3-day $6.4M (-60%), 4-day $8.2M, total $30.7M/Wk 2
5.) The Bad Guys (Uni) 2944 theaters (-761), Fri $1.2M (-18%), 3-day $4.9M (-20%), 4-day $6.6M, total $83.3M/Wk 6
6.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Par) 2,329 (-614) theaters, Fri $670K (-28%), 3-day $2.9M (-29%) , 4-day $3.6M, Total $186.2M/Wk 8
7.) Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) 1,189 (-389) theaters, Fri $693K (-22%), 3-day $2.5M (-19%), 4-day $3.2M, Total $57.5M/Wk 10
The Daniels’ movie is going to $60M. Yes, it is.
8.) F3: Fun and Frustration (Independent Indian) 400 theaters, Fri $518K, 3-day $1.66M , 4-day $1.7M/Wk 1
Book in 115 markets, the Telugu movie posted good results we here in NYC, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Charlotte and Austin. Anil Ravipudi directed and written movie follows Venky and Varun, who try to get out of their financial problems. But what will happen when they meet the Pragathi Family who are greedy for money?
9.) The Lost City (Par) 1,027 (-369) theaters, Fri $400K (-5%), 3-day $1.54M (-1%), 4-day $1.97M, Total $101.9M/Wk 10
10.) Men (A24) 2,196 (-16) theaters, Fri $379K (-73%), 3-day $1.3M (-59%), 4-day $1.7M, Total $6.4M/Wk 2
FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: Top Gun: Maverick at this Friday night hour is on its way to a $51M Opening day (which includes $19.3M previews). It would not be shocking to wake up on Saturday morning and see that the sequel has edged out Iron Man 2 ($51.2M) to become Paramount’s top opening day ever. Already, the sequel is Tom Cruise’s best opening day ever in U.S./Canada besting Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘s first day of $22.8M by 124%.
Three day now for the Paramount-Skydance co-financed movie is $120M, still second best for Paramount after Iron Man 2‘s $128.1M. Four day now stands at $146.2M, which is ahead of the 4-day weighted Memorial Day weekend opening of Disney’s 2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($139.8M) and Paramount’s 2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126.9M; however, that movie opened on a Thursday so it’s full 5 day run is at 151.95M). On its preview night we heard the latest by Cruise was playing strong all over the country including Salt Lake City, Denver, Orlando, San Francisco, the list went on and on. It’s not just big cities, but the flyover states as well.
Here’s how the top 5 chart is looking; based on industry estimates:
1.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 4,735 theaters Fri $51M, 3-day $120M, 4-day $146.2M/Wk 1
2.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 3,805 theaters (-729), Fri $4.4M (-48%), 3 day $17M (-47%), 4 day $21.8M, total $376.1M, /Wk 4
3.) The Bob’s Burgers Movie (20th/Dis) 3,425 theaters, Fri $5.5M, 3-day $14.7M, 4-day $18.1M/Wk 1
4.) Downton Abbey: A New Era (Foc) 3,830 theaters (+10), Fri $1.7M (-77%), 3-day $6M (-63%), 4-day $7.7M, total $30.2M/Wk 2
5.) The Bad Guys (Uni) 2944 theaters (-761), Fri $1.2M (-18%), 3-day $4.8M (-22%), 4-day $6.4M, total $83.1M/Wk 6
FRIDAY MIDDAY UPDATE: Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick is set to earn $142.4M over four days. Friday for the Tom Cruise sequel is looking like $50M with an estimated 3-day of $117M. That would make Top Gun: Maverick the second-biggest opener for Paramount after Iron Man 2 per Mojo, that pic debuting to $128.1M in 2010, and ahead of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($100.1M in 2008). Top Gun 2 is also the second-biggest opening day for a Paramount title after Iron Man 2‘s $51.1M.
Look, even if these numbers recede, this is far and away — no pun intended, Mr. Cruise — the biggest opening for the three-time Oscar nominated, nearly 60-year-old blockbuster star. See, industry? It certainly paid off for some studios to hold their movies during the pandemic until cinemas reopened.
When asked during his masterclass at Cannes whether straight-to-streaming was an option for the Skydance co-financed movie, Cruise said, “No, that’s not going to happen ever,” which triggered great applause. “That was never going to happen.”
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: After a 36-year wait, the Tom Cruise sequel Top Gun: Maverick finally took off to a massive $19.3 million in previews from Thursday 3 p.m. showtimes and a one-time 7 p.m. Tuesday fan event.
That’s the highest-grossing preview in Paramount Pictures history, the highest-grossing Memorial Day preview in history, and of course it’s the best for Cruise. Early projections heading into the weekend were $80M-$100M over four days, and a high-octane start such as this easily could propel Top Gun: Maverick to the best Memorial Day weekend opening ever, besting the $139.8M four-day total of 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
Without a question Top Gun: Maverick also is looking to be the best opening of Cruise’s career, easily leaving behind his 2005 three-day cume of War of the Worlds, which was $64.8M.
Everything is working in Top Gun 2‘s favor: It’s the widest release ever at 4,735 theaters and has 5 out of 5 stars on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, with a 96% positive and an enormous 84% definite recommend. PLFs (31%) and Imax (21%) combined repped 52% of preview ticket sales. Imax alone counted $4.1M in previews, the best ever for the exhibitor with a Paramount title, a Cruise movie and a top 10 all-time Imax result as well.
Also juicing bucks for Top Gun 2 is a 97% Certified Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes after a month’s worth of buzzy global premieres and a current audience score on RT of an amazing 99%.
The previous big preview for Paramount was 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with $16M, which was on a Tuesday and resulted in a $62M Wednesday (previews repped 25% of that figure). Best Thursday previews for a movie opening over Memorial Day weekend actually belongs to Disney’s Star Wars: A Solo Story which saw $14.1M, but only repped 40% of its first Friday’s $35.3M. That movie was panned by fans and yet resulted in a $103M four-day holiday opening.
Thursday previews began at 3 p.m. for the Paramount/Skydance feature. In addition, there was also a “Top Gun Tuesday” with premium large-format, Imax, and Dolby screens opening their curtains at 7 p.m. for one show only. We hear the majority of the sequel’s preview cash was made Thursday.
Top Gun: Maverick blows away Cruise’s previous Thursday preview record, that being 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which earned $6M.
Top Gun: Maverick means a little something extra to exhibition and studios overall: Outside of older guys attending, which Cruise always attracts (Fallout pulled in 41% men over 25), the hope is that this sequel plays wide, from under-25 to female Cruise fans who hung his posters in their bedrooms and lockers during the 1980s. Thursday night saw unweighted a turnout of 57% guys to 43% women. Fallout‘s Thursday night repped 26% of its first-day Friday of $22.8M before going on to make $61.2M.
Elsewhere on Thursday night, 20th Century Studios/Disney’s The Bob’s Burgers Movie saw $1.5M in previews from shows that began at 5 p.m. The pic is 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a current audience score of 96%. A $10M-$14M four-day launch is expected at 3,425 U.S.-Canada locations. Next to other previews, Sing 2 did $1.6M on its Tuesday early shows, Encanto did $1.5M on Tuesday previews — both in 2021 — while The Bad Guys did $1.2M on the Thursday night before its Friday opening last month.
Among regular ranked movies Thursday, Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned $2.4M at 4,534 theaters, off 14% from Wednesday for a running three-week total of $354.4M.
Focus Features’ Downton Abbey: A New Era was second with $1.3M, down 11% from Wednesday for a first-week take of $22.6M at 3,820 locations.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys was third with $576,000, +1%, at 3,705 venues and a running five-week total of $76.7M.
A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once booked at 1,576 posted a ninth Thursday of $426K, -16%, and a running cume of $54.3M.
Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drew around $330K, -4%, at 2,943 for a seven-week running total of $182.6M.