Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
This weekend, Tom Cruise has a chance to do something he’s never done before – open a film that has grossed over $100 million locally.
The prolific actor, who has established himself as a fearless stuntman, has earned more than $4.2 billion at the box office since 1981, but never has a film cost more than $65 million.
After several pandemic-related delays, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters this weekend with a 97% Freshness rating from Rotten Tomatoes and strong presale tickets.
“At this point, I don’t see much reason not to expect a domestic opening weekend of over $100 million, a mark the film is likely to reach in its first three days,” said Sean Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “We’re not just talking about a new career better for Mr. Cruise, but maybe some Memorial Day weekend records that could be lowered.”
Robbins noted that there is a lot of pent-up demand for Top Gun: Maverick. Not only has it been delayed several times due to Covid, but word of mouth from critics has sparked renewed interest in a sequel to the 1986 original, a touchstone of pop culture.
Box office analysts currently predict domestic sales of the film to be between $98 million and $125 million.
Even if the film doesn’t reach $100 million, it’s expected to be Cruise’s highest-grossing weekend in the country. His current record is 2005’s War of the Worlds, which grossed $64.8 million, according to Comscore.
“Basically, we can chalk this weird fact up to the fact that Tom Cruise rarely got attached to blockbuster franchises that require early debuts,” Robbins said. “Most of his films are built on star power and word of mouth, resulting in long box office runs that are no longer at the forefront of industry thinking.”
Robbins added that Cruise doesn’t often direct movie sequels. The exceptions are the Mission Impossible franchise and Jack Reacher’s second film, filmed in 2016. Mission: Impossible: Fallout, released in 2018, was Cruise’s highest-grossing film, grossing $220 million domestically and $791.1 million worldwide. Mission: Impossible: The Wage of Death, Part One will be released next year.
In addition, $100 million box office debuts have only become commonplace in the last decade as ticket prices have skyrocketed and fan franchises like Marvel and DC have attracted moviegoers to come in droves on opening weekends. Just this year, as the movie theater industry struggles to recover from two years of pandemic-related lockdowns, Warner Bros. Batman and Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness started with over $100 million.
Cruise’s legacy at the box office is linked to longevity, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
“As one of the few stars who has built a career on the long-term playability of his films, Cruise has changed the rules by not chasing the much-coveted $100 million opening weekend, but rather the overall pull of his films. long way,” he said.
“To that end, he has spent the last decade collaborating with amazing creative partners to create some of the most entertaining films ever to hit the multiplex,” Dergarabedian added.
Nearly half of Cruise’s 43 films have grossed over $100 million at the box office. Over the past four decades, ticket sales for his films have exceeded $10.3 billion worldwide.
“As a film producer, Cruise understands the practical dynamics of high box office sales, but he is also connected to the emotional connection that fans have with the visceral and cinematic power that only big-screen films can provide, especially his action-oriented films. “, – said Dergarabedyan.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.