Weekend Box Office Prediction: Top Gun: Maverick Aims for Tom Cruise’s First $100M+ Opener and Potential Memorial Day Records


Photo credits: Paramount Pictures & Claudio Miranda (“Top Gun: Maverick”); 20th Century Studios (“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”)

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Memorial Day weekend has often been one of the busiest times of the year in the theater’s history, and that will be true again with the highly anticipated launch of Top Gun: Maverick

Just a year ago, the cinema recovery was in its early stages as key markets reopened in time for A Quiet Place, Part II‘s theatrically exclusive release during the May holidays – a pivotal moment in the long pandemic road to the recovery of cinema attendance.

A year later, significant progress has been made since then through multiple blockbusters spanning 2021 and early 2022. However, of the many films that have been delayed over the past two years, few have been more prolific or prominent than Tom Cruise’s sequel to what was the biggest 1986 film and a role that cemented his eventual decades-long stardom.

utilities, Independent thinking person is finally here.

Long-distance tracking has been nothing short of encouraging with models pushing its trajectory ever higher. Before the pandemic, the film was expected to hit a major blockbuster in the summer of 2020. Now, as a movie that could bring many Generation Xers and baby boomers back to the theater for one of — if not their first — trips back to a theater since 2019, the Top Gun sequel is modeling close to or higher than it once was when tracking and marketing first started nearly three years ago.

Social media footprints are huge compared to previous ones Mission Impossible movie or the recent No time to dieand since pre-sales started last month, the movie has only continued to push box office goal posts higher and higher.

While Cruise leans towards a predominantly male audience as a military action movie, Cruise has historically had a strong appeal to mature women both at home and abroad. The natural appeal of this film to Central America and military families underlines once again how widespread interest is.

Cruise’s promise of more deadly, hands-on stunts and visual feats is a big part of the balloon ride surrounding the sequel. The buzz is compounded by ecstatic reviews from critics and screenings over the past month, as the film has an incredible Rotten Tomatoes score of 97 percent from 189 critics.

Where box office projections inevitably become volatile, within the reality is that pandemic consumer behavior has changed the modeling of certain films.

For example strong presale for: No time to die indicated a higher performance than blossomed last fall – though it was still a healthy performer and falls into an arguably different category of franchise sequel. Dune similarly drew robust pre-sales (mostly in premium formats), though modeling better accounted for that with a fan-driven checkout performance in line with expectations.

Top Gun: Maverick however, is in an entirely different league, with presales rivaling that of a three- or four-quadrant film like the batter but much less a supposed fan rush that would cause significant front-loading.

Making the waters even more muddy are Tuesday Early Access and Wednesday AMC Investor Connect screenings for Independent thinking personwhich will no doubt be added to the weekend tally by Paramount.

But even then, Thursday and real weekend sales are looking strong. The holiday itself will blow up Sunday, and the film’s strong appeal for a premium screen experience means that average ticket prices are rising. The social media buzz has been incredibly positive, although the X factor remains in how well a sequel to a 36-year-old movie will instantly attract a younger audience.

Potential benchmarks for cruise and Memorial Day weekend

While Cruise has never opened a $100 million film in a single weekend domestically (mainly because of his distaste for sequels and the nature of how the company has changed since its heyday as a consistent big-screen presence), Independent thinking person is on a clear path to change that. In fact, it’s only fair that this sequel would approach or exceed Memorial Day weekend record records if it continues on its current path and has a strong appeal to casual moviegoers.

The current Memorial records? Those are from 2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with the largest three-day ($114.7 million) and four-day openings ($139.8 million) ever for the holiday. Notably, both figures exclude $13.2 million from Thursday shows. It wasn’t common for studios to include midnight earnings in a movie’s weekend showing 15 years ago, but a lot has changed since then.

Another barometer up close for Independent thinking person could be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skullwhich opened a year after opening pirates trilogy capper with a three-day $100.1 million and a four-day $126.9 million — again excluding Thursday’s own earnings of $25.0 million. Like this Top Gun follow up, Crystal Skull was a long-awaited sequel to a star-driven, iconic pop culture collection not seen since the 1980s.

Towards the end of their respective long Memorial Day weekends, At the end of the world collected $153 million domestically and Crystal Skull was just behind with $152 million.

Paramount especially lets go Independent thinking person as the widest cinema launch in history at 4,732 locations this weekend, beating the previous opening weekend record of 4,725 by 2019 The lionking redo. After the aforementioned Tuesday and Wednesday sneak peeks, the traditional previews begin on Thursday at 3 p.m.

The studio is setting expectations at a conservative level with expectations of a $92 million four-day arc.

As for counter-programming, Disney 20th Century Studios’ The Bob’s Burgers movie at an estimated 3,400 locations this weekend. Social footprints are solid with the television series’ fanbase, something that has also been reflected in pre-sales since they started last week.

Nevertheless, the main game here is aimed at young millennials, Gen Zers, and perhaps some families with an animated comedy that could end somewhat head-on. Reviews are also very encouraging with a score of 93 percent from 46 Rotten Tomatoes reviewers.

Previews for Bob’s Burgers starting Thursday at 5 p.m. Disney expects a four-day launch between $10 million and $14 million.

Open weekend ranges

Top Gun: Maverick
3-day opening weekend range: $120 – 145 million
4-day opening weekend range: $143 – 177 million

The Bob’s Burgers movie
3-day opening weekend range: $8 – 12 million
4-day opening weekend range: $9.5 – 15 million

Weekend forecast and location count projections

Current forecasts call for a 130 to 165 percent increase (3 days) out of last weekend’s top ten at $71.5 million. That would also represent a 17 to 36 percent increase (4 days) of Memorial Day weekend 2019’s $173.1 million top ten total.

Movie Distributor 3-day weekend forecast Expect domestic total until Sunday 29 May 3-day % change from last week 4-day weekend forecast Expect domestic total until Monday 30 May Projection location count (from Wed)
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $130,000,000 $130,000,000 NEW ONES $156,000,000 $156,000,000 4.732
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Disney & Marvel Studios $14.6 million $368.5 million -55% $19,000,000 $372.8 million ~4,000
The Bob’s Burgers movie 20th Century Studios (Disney) $9,600,000 $9,600,000 NEW ONES $12,000,000 $12,000,000 ~ 3,400
Downton Abbey: A New Era Focus functions $7,600,000 $29.5 million -52% $9,700,000 $31.5 million ~3,820
the bad guys Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation $5,100,000 $81.8 million -17% $6,900,000 $83.6 million ~ 3,200
Sonic the hedgehog 2 Paramount Pictures $2,800,000 $185.4 million -32% $3,800,000 $186.4 million ~ 2500
Everything Everywhere All at once A24 $2,200,000 $56,100,000 -30% $2,900,000 $56,800,000 ~1.350
Men A24 $1,500,000 $5,900,000 -55% $1,900,000 $6.3 million ~2.212
The Lost City Paramount Pictures $1,100,000 $101.1 million -28% $1,400,000 $101.3 million ~1,000
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Warner Bros. Photos $1,000,000 $95 million -49% $1,200,000 $95,200,000 ~1,000

*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts have been updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten, as some studios do not round out the number of locations on weekends and/or intend to report box office returns before publication.

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