Paramount Pictures and producer/star Tom Cruise got a lot of heat when they refused to consider selling "Top Gun: Maverick" to a streaming platform at the height of the COVID pandemic. Who really wanted to see a long-overdue sequel to a decades-old, military-themed movie?
It turns out that just about everyone wanted to see "Top Gun: Maverick," including the majority of the moviegoing audience that wasn't even born when Maverick and Goose dominated the summer box office in 1986. Not even the most optimistic "Top Gun" fans could have predicted what a cultural moment "Maverick" has become.
"Top Gun: Maverick" passed $1 billion at the global box office this weekend, making it the biggest military-themed movie of all time or the second-biggest adjusted for inflation if you consider "Gone With the Wind," a Civil War movie. Still, it's bigger than "American Sniper," bigger than "Saving Private Ryan," bigger than "The Bridge on the River Kwai."
Let's break down the numbers. "Top Gun: Maverick" made $29.6 million in its fifth weekend and pulled ahead of "Jurassic World: Dominion," the movie that was #1 the past two weekends. Its domestic box office total now stands at $521.7 million.
The international box office is just as impressive. In 65 markets around the world, "Top Gun: Maverick" made $44.5 million for a total of $484.7 million. Those numbers don't include two major markets. Paramount declined to release the movie in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, and China denied permission, maybe because of Maverick's jacket.
Some basic arithmetic puts the worldwide total at $1,006,400,000. That's a staggering number and it's sure to grow. "Top Gun: Maverick" took back a few IMAX and Dolby Cinema screens from "Jurassic World: Dominion" this past weekend, and it's likely to add a few more for the upcoming July 4th weekend.
Paramount put out a very interesting number, one that bodes well for the movie's continued success in theaters. More than 16% of the "Top Gun: Maverick" audience has seen it more than once in theaters, and an incredible 4% has seen it four times or more. That's repeat business on a "Star Wars" level.
"Top Gun: Maverick" wasn't the only military-related hit at the box office this weekend. The #1 movie in America was "Elvis," a biopic about Army veteran Elvis Presley's dream to make it big in show business, with a gross of $31.1 million.
After almost 2 1/2 years of pain and suffering for theater owners, it looks like movies are finally back. "Top Gun: Maverick" will go down in history as the film that brought viewers of all ages back to cinemas worldwide.
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