Top Gun: Maverick has opened to overwhelmingly positive reviews and has broken Tom Cruise’s box office record by giving him his largest domestic box office opening. Top Gun: Maverick has been in the works for quite some time, with development going back as early as 2010. The original Top Gun, directed by the late Tony Scott, was released in 1986, allowing for a rare Hollywood blockbuster that didn’t receive a proper reboot or sequel for 36 years. Both films follow Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) during his time inside the U.S. Navy’s elite TOPGUN fighter pilot school, where those enlisted are all the best of the best, and each student fights to be known as the best pilot.
Top Gun 2 continues many of the 1986 smash hit’s original story threads while dropping others, including Maverick’s love interest and his decision to become a teacher. Mitchell is still the same daredevil pilot who bends the rules more often than not to get the job done, struggling to move on from the past while dwelling on the tragic death of Goose (Anthony Edwards). It is revealed early on that Maverick has only managed to survive in the Navy due to his connection to Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer) who is now an Admiral who fights for Maverick despite his nomad tendencies.
Maverick, still a Captain avoiding promotion so that the Navy doesn’t ground him, is enlisted by Iceman to train a group of TOPGUN graduates for an almost impossible mission. Over 35 years since the release of the original Top Gun, Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, and many other new and returning stars take the air once again. Thanks to outstanding critical consensus and what appears to be a very promising start at the box office, Top Gun: Maverick is proving to be just as formidable—if not more so—that its iconic predecessor, despite a significant gap between releases and a global pandemic that crippled and delayed numerous other films.
Top Gun: Maverick’s Box Office Is Tom Cruise’s Biggest Opening Weekend Ever
Top Gun: Maverick gives Tom Cruise his biggest domestic box office opening weekend ever, scoring $124 million in North America across 4,735 screens. Maverick is not only Cruise’s biggest box office opening, it’s the first opening Cruise has ever had to top $100 million. His previous highest domestic opening was Mission: Impossible – Fallout with $61.5 million, putting Top Gun: Maverick on track to be the star’s highest-grossing film ever.
The 59-year-old Cruise’s stock has risen once again in recent years, partly due to his devotion to doing his own stunts, and partly due to the critical success of films like Edge of Tomorrow, American Made, and modern entries in the Mission: Impossible franchise, including Fallout. Tom Cruise insisted on using real fighter jets wherever possible in the making of Top Gun: Maverick, and has been upping the ante with every film in recent years. Cruise’s insistence on perfection and his role as a producer could be the reason the star’s films are seeing improved success, hinting that Mission: Impossible – Dark Reckoning may perform even better than the already impressive Top Gun: Maverick.
How Maverick’s Box Office Compares To Top Gun’s
Top Gun 2 has made $282 million at the global box office in its opening weekend so far, and given the extra-long Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., that number is expected to be even greater. This is based on a budget of $170 million. It’s generally considered that a film must double its budget to compensate for the studio’s marketing costs, so Top Gun: Maverick needs to make in the neighborhood of $340 million to break even. Currently, $156 million of the film’s gross comes from the domestic box office, with an additional $126 million internationally.
The original Top Gun had a comparably modest budget of $15 million, and was the highest-grossing film of 1986, taking in $354 million worldwide. Domestically the film earned $176.8 million, which adjusted for inflation is roughly $469 million. The current domestic leader for 2022 is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with $374.9 million, which means Top Gun: Maverick would need to become the highest-grossing film of the year to emulate the success of its predecessor.
Why Top Gun 2 Has Already Made So Much Money
Top Gun: Maverick’s box office success can be attributed to a number of important factors. Chief among them is likely Tom Cruise’s own success as a major blockbuster actor, but the film’s highly anticipated release date has also played a large role. Top Gun 2 was scheduled to be released on July 12th, 2019 but was pushed back due to the pandemic. An actual release date of May 27, 2022 ensured that not only have fans been waiting 36 years for a sequel to 1986’s most popular movie, but Top Gun 2 was able to benefit from Memorial Day weekend, which is generally considered a big day for the U.S. box office. Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures push for a traditional theatrical release and the idea that the film begs to be seen on the big screen have also played a part in making the movie an undisputed success in its opening weekend.
How Much Will Top Gun: Maverick Make At The Box Office?
The Batman, which made $769 million globally, was recently overtaken by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after the latter became the first 2022 film to cross $800 million at the global box office. While Top Gun 2’s worldwide debut puts the film in a good place financially, it will need to continue to be the top box office draw throughout much of June in order to hit the $1 billion mark. Jurassic World: Dominion may threaten this possibility, however. Currently, Paramount Pictures has no plans to release the film in China, which would have likely given Top Gun 2 a large push towards overcoming that obstacle.
As it is, Top Gun: Maverick is not on track to beat Doctor Strange 2’s box office takings. While Maverick’s opening is impressive, it’s dwarfed by Doctor Strange 2’s impressive $449 million worldwide opening. However, Multiverse of Madness lacked longevity due to its mixed reviews, whereas Top Gun: Maverick currently sits at 99% audience score and is certified fresh at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film’s longevity at the box office will also depend on competing films. The Bob’s Burgers Movie dropped on the same day, but is thus far not performing at the same level. The aforementioned Jurassic World: Dominion releases on June 10, followed by Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear on June 17. Subsequent weeks will see the releases of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Minions: The Rise of Gru, and Thor: Love & Thunder, which is expected to be among the top box office draws of 2022.