Paramount/Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is off and flying at the box office, earning $19.2 million during preview screenings on Thursday night.
Not only is it more than triple the $6 million earned in previews by Tom Cruise’s last blockbuster, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” it is the highest preview total for any Paramount release. While that comparison is not exact as “Maverick” had screenings begin at 3 p.m. compared to 7 p.m. for “Fallout” and most pre-pandemic blockbusters, the “Top Gun” sequel is expected to easily clear the $61 million 3-day opening that “Fallout” made to set a new career record for Cruise, possibly even becoming the actor’s first $100 million-plus opening.
Of that $19.2 million, 21% came from Imax screenings with the premium format reporting $4.1 million in preview grosses, the highest ever for a Paramount or Cruise. Along with Imax, other premium formats like Dolby and ScreenX anticipate strong numbers from “Top Gun: Maverick” as the film’s dogfight scenes lend themselves to the premium experience.
With a 96% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and overwhelming praise from audiences already popping up on social media, “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to join the top 10 highest-grossing opening weekends in Memorial Day history. Beyond this weekend, it has a clear road to dominate the box office charts for the next two weeks, provided that Cruise’s draw and strong word-of-mouth brings in younger audiences along with nostalgic Gen Xers.
Also opening on Thursday was 20th Century’s “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” earning $1.5 million from 3,425 theaters with screenings beginning at 5 PM. The adaptation of the hit Fox animated TV series has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 86% and is projected for an extended opening of $10-14 million.