Forget breaking the sound barrier: Tom Cruise has just passed a milestone in his career.
The 59-year-old superstar just made his first $100 million opening weekend with Top Gun: Maverick. Paramount Pictures said Sunday that the long-in-development sequel made about $124 million in ticket sales in its first three days in North American theaters. Including international screenings, its worldwide total is $248 million.
It’s a supersonic start for a film that still has the skies of Memorial Day itself wide open to make even more money. Top Gun: Maverick is likely to have over $150 million by Monday’s close, according to projections and estimates.
Cruz is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the world – perhaps even the “last movie star” if various headlines are to be believed – not known for massive blockbusters.
Prior to Maverick, his biggest domestic debut came in 2005 with Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, which grossed $64 million. This was followed by Mission: Impossible – Fallout with $61 million in 2018. It’s not that his films don’t make money in the long run: they just don’t get huge initial commissions.
The late Tony Scott’s 1986 sequel Top Gun was originally scheduled to open in summer 2020. The pandemic thwarted this plan and it has been delayed several times. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and co-produced and financed by Skydance, the sequel reportedly cost $152 million to make.
But even as the months and years rolled by and many other companies compromised on hybrid releases, Cruise and Paramount didn’t waver in their desire for a major theatrical release. A streaming debut was simply not possible.
“This should never have happened,” Cruz said at Cannes.
And it’s a big deal: Top Gun: Maverick is shown in 4,735 theaters in North America (a record). It also opened in 23,600 locations in 62 international markets. The build-up was just as lavish, with fighter jet-decorated premieres on an aircraft carrier in San Diego and at the Cannes Film Festival, where Cruise also received an honorary Palme d’Or, and a royal premiere in London attended by Prince William and his wife Kate.
Reviews were also stellar, with the film scoring a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. According to exit polls, the audience, 58% of whom were men, gave the film a five CinemaScore.
In the new film, Cruise reprises the role of Maverick, who returns to an elite aviation training program to train the next generation of airmen, including Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Greg Tarzan Davis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman and Jay Ellis. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer, reprising their role from the original, also star.
Maverick is now among the most popular pandemic-era debuts, still leading Spider-Man: No Way Home at $260 million, followed by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at $187 million and Batman at $187 million. 134 million dollars. .
Follow AP Film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
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