‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Scores Memorial Day Opening Record With $156M

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‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Scores Memorial Day Opening Record With $156M

Via Deadline:

MONDAY AM UPDATE: Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick has beaten Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End fair and square for the Memorial Day opening 4-day record (+ previews) at the domestic box office with $156M. While easily Tom Cruise’s best opening of all-time, producer Jerry Bruckheimer is the common denominator of the two largest Memorial Day weekend openings at the domestic box office.

At World’s End’s four-day holiday opening of $139.8M was further puffed by Thursday previews which got that third Pirates to a $153M stateside start, a Memorial Day record Disney held for the last 15 years. No more, those bragging rights go to Paramount now. Over the weekend, debate raged on as to whether those $13.2M At World’s End previews (which reportedly started at 8PM) should be included in that pic’s 4-day opening; that gross was recorded at a time before studios began rolling previews into their weekend openings. Forever, Box Office Mojo and Comscore showed At World’s End with a 4-day start of $139.8M. Mojo separated out that $13.2M At World’s End previews into a separate Thursday opening day, while Comscore rolled that amount into At World’s End’s seven-day gross — not its opening, capisce? However, given how previews have been included in these blockbuster openings of late, it only made sense to measure this race by an apples-to-apples slide rule.

Top Gun: Maverick made $36.7M yesterday, -3% from its $38M Saturday. The three-day stands at $126.7M, which is still second best among Friday-Sunday starts for Paramount after Iron Man 2 ($128.1M).

EntTelligence reports that 11.6M moviegoers have seen Top Gun 2 to date, which is third biggest attendance during the pandemic era (since Q2 2020) after Spider-Man: No Way Home (20.6M) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (14M) for an opening weekend.

Speaking of Paramount, that studio is on a dynamite upswing this year. Top Gun 2 is the studio’s 5th No. 1 opening of 2022 after Scream, Jackass Forever, The Lost City and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a slate built on robust diversity of winning product. Not a lot of studios can exclaim that (sorry, Universal. Despite all your smart co-financing, your diverse product outside of Bad Guys, hasn’t been winning). With Top Gun 2, Paramount flies to $585M for 2022, which will make it the No. 1 studio at the domestic box office.

Many know that Top Gun 2 was put into the Paramount pipeline during the Jim G era, however, we need to raise a glass to Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins for not falling prey to the industry’s seduction of streaming, and taking what was always a prized tentpole and going day-and-date with it on Paramount+. Waiting is everything, and the hopscotching of Top Gun 2 around the calendar –at one point Independence Day 2021, then Thanksgiving last year, and then now– has truly paid off. The Tom Cruise sequel was always meant to be paired with the hot weather season and barbeque. It’s a lesson to all you major studios inebriated on streaming that theatrical is king and such assets for the big screen should be protected. Now, Paramount has a major franchise they can move forward on. Bruckheimer tells Deadline this morning that a third film isn’t being discussed yet, “we’re enjoying this one; let’s ride this wave.” However, it’s a no-brainer that Paramount wants a third Top Gun film.

Speaking of the flyover states success here on Top Gun 2, Midwest chain B&B Theatres dropped Deadline a note that their 513-plus screen chain overperformed by 47% on Top Gun 2. Not all chains can claim that from the data Deadline has seen; i.e. AMC, despite being tops for the weekend). Regal Theaters overperformed with Top Gun 2 by 14%. As studios wonder how to build and rally with a slate of product outside of tentpole movies appealing to various demos, they should recognize the potential and underserved nature of the red state crowd. Top Gun 2 is arguably the first red state movie since 2014’s American Sniper to propel older audiences, who typically don’t go to the movies in these parts of the country, to attend. There was a point in time, before the explosion of the offshore marketplace, and the 1980s blockbuster era, that all Hollywood did was make movies for audiences between NY and LA, i.e. Smokey and the Bandit ($126.7M), American Graffiti ($115M), Every Which Way But Loose ($85.1M), Coal Miner’s Daughter ($67M), even 1982’s An Officer and a Gentleman (near $130M). While that audience is older, their tastes have been passed on to younger generations.

The march for Top Gun 2 began all the way back at July 2019 San Diego Comic Con. As Deadline first told you, that’s when Cruise made a surprise appearance in Hall H after the Terminator: Dark Fate panel. The first teaser was also dropped at SDCC. San Diego was of utmost importance given the franchise’s naval base setting. Those exhibitors and press who attended CinemaCon last August got to see the pic’s first 20 minutes. This past April, CinemaCon got to see the Kosinski directed movie for the first time before its San Diego premiere, and Cannes, Royal London and Tokyo galas.

Other marketing highlights included Cruise’s custom intro for the NFL AFC Championship on CBS. Select brand partnerships included Applebee’s with a national TV, digital, and radio campaign with takeovers in 1600+ restaurants; Microsoft Flight Simulator launched a DLC and XBox created custom movie-themed consoles; JetSuite X wrapped a plane with Top Gun branding used to fly talent and influencers to the SDCC global junket and premiere; Porsche had a co-branded spot in the Super Bowl and sponsored a Need for Speed influencer event at their test track and Coca-Cola activated an in-theatre promotion around the globe.

Paramount Pictures and Interscope debuted two original songs and music videos from the soundtrack in the lead up to release including Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” and One Republic’s “I Ain’t Worried”.

Paramount created a custom spot that ran on ESPN and other nets featuring Best of the Best sports Mavericks including Sean McVay, head coach of Super Bowl Champions LA Rams, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, Masters winner Scottie Scheffler, UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña, and NCAA Basketball Champion and Most Outstanding Player Aliyah Boston. Overall, iSpot measured that the Melrose Lot spent $16.4M in TV spots that reached over 1 billion in impressions.

There were 3D outdoor executions around the globe including US, UK, Australia, Japan, Spain, Italy, and a custom video takeover of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Updated Disney numbers this morning show Doctor Strange 2 with $15.8M weekend 4, and $20.5M 4-day and a running total of $374.8M. Their 20th Century Studios’ title The Bob’s Burgers Movie is now at $12.4M 3-day, $14.8M 4-day.

Total ticket sales for the 4-day holiday per Comscore were $218.9M, +1,023% from a year ago. That amount falls outside the top ten Memorial Day weekends at the box office per the B.O. authority.

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Paramount is now calling the 4-day weekend for Top Gun: Maverick at $151M after a $38M Saturday, which is technically up 16% from Friday’s $32.7M ($52M less $19.3M Thursday previews). That uptick means a ton in today’s market, given how older skewing this movie is. Disney asserts it continues to own the Memorial Day weekend record with 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with $153M; read previous update for all the agita. Still, with Top Gun 2, that’s the best Memorial Day weekend we’ve seen in quite some time.

Worldwide for Top Gun 2 is $248M, which is also the best Cruise has ever seen. For producer Jerry Bruckheimer, it’s his second best 3-day stateside debut after 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6M), and ahead of the 3-day of At World’s End ($114.7M). EntTelligence reports that 11.1M moviegoers will have seen Top Gun 2 to date through EOD Monday, blowing away the 2M opening weekend traffic of the 1986 pic.

Updated demos are 58% guys, 42% women. The under-35 repped 45%, which is promising, considering that the sequel is appealing to a wider demo. Those over 35 repped 55%, while the 18-34 segment repped 37% of attendance. Diversity demos were 66% Caucasian, 16% Latino and Hispanic, 7% African American, and 7% Asian.

Close to half of the audience said Top Gun 2 exceeded expectations, while another 30% said they would see it again in theaters. All promising.

The sequel overperformed in the western US, Rockies, South Central, and southeastern US, was at norm in the Midwest, and underperformed in the Northeast. Canada drove 7% of the pic’s weekend. Those markets that overperformed include Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Diego, Tampa, Portland OR, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and Jacksonville. “Top grossing theaters hailed from a diverse and varied geographical spread including LA, Nashville, NY, San Antonio, OKC, Knoxville, SLC, Denver, Dallas, Wash DC, SD, Tampa, Seattle, Phoenix, Portland OR, Fresno, and Orlando,” reads Paramount’s note. PLF screen accounted for 22% of the weekend, while Imax contributed another 15% or $21M. For Imax, it’s also the biggest opening weekend ever for a Cruise film, and the biggest ever over Memorial Day weekend.

“If you thought movies were dead, go see Top Gun: Maverick and then let me know what you think. This film heralds the return of the summer blockbuster, and is a catalyst that will accelerate demand for moviegoing like an F-18 breaking the sound barrier,” beamed Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX in a statement. “There’s no way you sit in a theatre, with a huge screen and chest-pounding speakers, and come away thinking there’s any other way you want to experience Top Gun: Maverick, and our hats are off to Tom Cruise, Joe Kosinski, and their fearless creative team for what they’ve accomplished.”

There’s an argument to be made that Top Gun 2 is soaking up all the business this weekend at the box office; a trend that was certainly occurring pre-pandemic with big tentpole movies, and even as recent as Christmas with Spider-Man: No Way Home. 

However, credit goes to Disney for giving the weekend some breadth with the fourth weekend of Doctor Strange 2, which beat The Batman as the highest-grossing movie of the year to date, and the debut of The Bob’s Burgers Movie. In regards to the latter, that was a project put into development before the Disney-Fox merger. It was always a niche movie, so these numbers aren’t shocking. The Simpsons Movie ($74M opening in 2007) was never expected to be. EntTelligence says that roughly 1.1M moviegoers saw Bob’s Burgers over the last three days, a figure that’s not far from its weekly series average of ~1.3M viewers (according to Nielsen data published on TVSeriesFinale, from 9/27/20 to 5/23/21). Great exits coming from the fans who showed up. Parents and kids combined repped 16% of the audience, while general audience was 84%. The 18-34 demo repped a huge 67% of the weekend’s traffic.

Overall, EntTelligence reports that Memorial Day 2022 vs. the holiday a year ago: Ticket prices are up 7.5%, PLF tickets are +3.2% and there’s 69% more available seats for the public.


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