More conservative types may have worried that Tom Cruise suiting up as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was a “ride into the danger zone” of obsolesce. But this weekend’s receipts for Top Gun: Maverick have proven them wrong.
The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Joseph Kosinski-directed sequel to the 1986 original didn’t just do well, it leveled the competition as if it were a bunker nestled amidst mountainous terrain in an unnamed but nefarious rogue nation.
Variety reported that it grossed $156 million domestically over the Memorial Day weekend, beating 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End by three million for the record. The trade outlet also noted that the film unspooled in 4,732 North American theaters, making it the widest release of all time.
The movie’s success didn’t stop at our nation’s borders (proudly defended by our naval aviators with callsigns like Maverick, Rooster, Hangman, Phoenix, Fanboy, and, uh, Bob.) It earned a reported $124 million, which by my math makes $280 million. This is even more impressive when you consider, as The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, that the movie is not showing in Russia or China.
The film, which co-stars Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Monica Barbaro, and a special appearance by Val Kilmer also has a stratospheric 97 percent from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, it joins the ranks of films to win an A+ from Cinemascore, which polls exiting audience members for their opinion. (Peruse the list, though, and you’ll see not everything on there is a masterpiece.)
Tom Cruise has spoken many times about his insistence on delaying the movie during the pandemic in favor of a theatrical release. Let’s face it, some movies don’t suffer too much when you watch them at home, but when Mav is suffering G forces to keep our nation safe, you need the big screen and the rumble of professional-grade speakers. The gambit to wait has certainly paid off, with people already sinking their teeth into this movie (and thinking about it) with tremendous gusto.