There is little doubt that the box office is soaring after Top Gun: Maverick’s massive $127 million three-day and $161 million four-day holiday premiere, which was the greatest non-superhero debut since 2019 and nearly doubled the previous best Tom Cruise opening. The three-and-a-half-decade-long sequel also set a new Memorial Day weekend record, surpassing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Despite these highs, the shortage of fresh films continues to hold back the box office, which is why May, despite being the second-best-grossing month since the epidemic began, was the lowest-grossing May since 2006.
The Other Films Released In May:
May saw two blockbusters with openings of more than $100 million (the other being Doctor Strange 2, but it also saw two films launch in the teens and nothing else open above $5 million. Compare this to May 2019, following the massive late April release of Avengers: Endgame, when three films Aladdin, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, three more above $10 million, and six more above $5 million were set to launch. Compared to 2019, when Endgame was the only non-May release in the top ten for Memorial Day weekend, four of the top ten films were from earlier months. While the rest of the summer schedule is busier than May, there is still a relative lack of releases, with only four big studio pictures going wide in June compared to seven in 2019 plus three more wides from Lionsgate, Amazon, and UA.
No Major Releases Cleared Top Gun: Maverick’s Way:
With nothing important opening in the second weekend, it cleared the skies for Top Gun: Maverick, and profits for the second weekend skyrocketed due to the film’s excellent word of mouth. It achieved the prestigious A+ CinemaScore. Cruise films normally perform well, with second-weekend losses of less than 50% in the last two Mission: Impossible films. Given the tremendous scale of its opening, expect a larger decrease here, although Top Gun 2 managed a similar hold in its second weekend and ended up bigger than any prior Cruise film’s opening.
The $15.8 million Tuesday was the best Tuesday of the year, indicating that the film lingered in the air this weekend. It outperformed the higher openings of Doctor Strange 2 and The Batman, was the third greatest in May history behind two Avengers pictures, and was more than double the previous Memorial Day weekend topper Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Top Gun 2 exceeded War of the Worlds’ $234 million to become Cruise’s highest domestic grosser.