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Top Gun: Maverick soars past $1B, overtakes Doctor Strange 2 as the highest-grossing movie of the year globally

A SCENE from the film Top Gun: Maverick.

LOS ANGELES — Paramount’s all-American blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick is still flying high at the box office, crossing the coveted $1 billion over the weekend.

With those ticket sales, the movie has overtaken Disney’s Marvel adventure Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($943 million) as the highest-grossing movie of the year at the global box office.

Prior to this weekend, the sequel to Tom Cruise’s 1986 action flick Top Gun was already the highest-grossing movie of the year at the domestic North American box office, with revenues currently at $521 million. Along with $484.7 million at the international box office, Maverick has grossed $1.006 billion worldwide.

In an unusually close box office battle, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick have tied for first place in North America, with each film bringing in $30.5 million over the weekend.

The two films were locked in a close battle all weekend as the King of Rock and Roll took the No. 1 spot on Friday and dropped to second place on Saturday. The final results will be tallied on Monday.

Regardless of which film comes out on top, it’s a strong result for both. For Elvis, a $30 million debut is impressive for a movie catering to older audiences. For Maverick, it’s almost unheard of for a movie to generate $30 million in its fifth weekend of release.

Overall, it’s an encouraging weekend at the box office as five movies are putting up sizable results. Four — Elvis and fellow newcomer Universal’s Blumhouse thriller The Black Phone, as well as holdovers Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion each grossed $20 million or more, while a fifth, Disney’s Pixar film Lightyear, came close with $17 million.

Moreover, those ticket sales wouldn’t be far off from pre-COVID projections. Those healthy box-office returns come as audiences have reportedly started to feel safer than ever going to their local cinema. According to a study by the National Research Group, 88% of moviegoers are “very or somewhat comfortable” going to the movies — marking a new all-time high. Around a year ago, that percentage was closer to 59%.

Baz Luhrmann directed Elvis, a kaleidoscopic take on the 20th century icon. Austin Butler stars as the king of rock and roll in Elvis, which chronicles the performer’s meteoric rise to fame through the eyes of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks). Audiences dug the film, awarding it an A- CinemaScore.

David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, called Elvis a “risky proposition,” one that seems like it will pay off.

“The music is dated, the character is not directly familiar, and the lead actor is unproven on the big screen. But critics and audiences are responding,” Mr. Gross said. “This is the Baz Luhrmann show, a music, dance and sex appeal spectacular — it’s a hit.”

The nostalgia-fueled sequel to 1986’s Top Gun has benefitted greatly from stellar word-of-mouth, which has resulted in minuscule week-to-week drops. Now in its fifth weekend of release, Maverick added $30.5 million from 3,948 venues between Friday and Sunday, pushing its domestic total to $521 million. It was already the highest-grossing movie of the year in the US and Canada, but after this weekend, it’s now the highest grossing movie at the global box office as well with $1.006 billion to date. Notably, it’s the first movie of the year and only the second in COVID times (following Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home with $1.9 billion) to fly past the $1 billion mark. — Reuters

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