Top Gun: Maverick – Lightyears Ahead of Expectations

I’ve been at this box office predicting game for quite some time. If it gets stale for even a moment, something will come along to shock you. That happened this weekend. Twice.

First there’s the massive underperformance of Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear, which is barely topping $50 million for second place behind Jurassic World: Dominion. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow,  but it’s not often a tentpole release comes in over $30 million behind your (and many other prognosticators) estimates. It made less than half of the fourth Toy Story tale three years ago.

Today, however, it’s all about Top Gun: Maverick. If you’d told me a month ago that the long gestating Tom Cruise sequel would score the second (you read that correctly) best fourth weekend of all time, I wouldn’t have believed it. That’s second only to the fourth frame of Avatar. Better than any Star Wars episode. Better than any MCU adventure. Better than Titanic. 

Maverick, with its soaring reviews and word-of-mouth, has undeniably become a phenomenon. Its $44 million estimated haul this weekend brings its domestic tally to an astonishing $466 million. That’s already $200 million over Cruise’s previous largest stateside hit – 2005’s War of the Worlds. A gross of over $600 million in the US and Canada seems assured in addition to a worldwide total topping $1 billion.

To say this is lightyears ahead of expectations is one heckuva understatement. This is the rare breed of picture that is appealing to all ages and genders and is clearly warranting repeat viewings. I suspect Oscar voters will take notice. Categories like Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects are obviously on the table. So too is Lady Gaga’s theme song “Hold My Hand” which might be an early frontrunner to win. And with these mind boggling earnings – Oscar voters could vault this into Best Picture contention and Tom Cruise could be in the mix for Best Actor. That’s far from guaranteed… yet it was unthinkable before its release.

The word phenomenon doesn’t come around much with box office forecasting. When 2002’s Spider-Man made $114 in its first weekend, that word applied because no pic had done so before. The domination of Titanic when many thought it would be a flop definitely fits the bill. So does James Cameron’s follow-up Avatar (ironically its sequel seems destined to compete with Maverick for some tech Oscars). The MCU juggernaut has a handful of examples.

Top Gun: Maverick is a phenomenon and in its fourth outing, the buzz is towering over everything else in 2022.

June 3-5 Box Office Predictions

With no wide release newcomers coming our way as June kicks off, Tom will easily cruise to another weekend atop the charts after the history making debut of Top Gun: Maverick. 

The long in development sequel set holiday records (more on that below). Many Memorial Day weekend openers see hefty declines in their sophomore frames, but that fate may not apply here. Maverick received a rare A+ Cinemascore meaning audiences (like critics) are loving what they’re seeing. That may draw out viewers who didn’t wish to deal with the crowds in addition to repeat viewers. I’ll say it dips less than 50%.

Slots 2-5 should remain stagnant with Jurassic World: Dominion on deck for the following weekend. Here’s how I see it:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $67.5 million

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (May 27-30)

As mentioned, Tom Cruise soared to the largest debut of his career with room to spare. Top Gun: Maverick amassed $126.7 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $160.5 million for the four-day. That eclipses my respective takes of $113.4 million and $138 million. Cruise’s previous all-time starter was 2005’s War of the Worlds with $65 million. Maverick also moved past the 15-year-old Memorial frame record that belonged to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with its $139 million Friday to Monday haul.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse dropped to second after three weeks on top with $20.3 million, on pace with my $22.1 million forecast. The total is $374 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie certainly didn’t earn Simpsons type of coin ($74 million). However, it did manage to surpass my expectations. The animated pic made $12.4 million for the three-day and $14.8 million over the long portion. The third place showing ran ahead of my projections of $9.2 million and $11.6 million.

Downton Abbey: A New Era proved rather front loaded with a fourth place sophomore gross of $7.4 million compared to my $9.5 million estimate. The two-week gross is $29 million.

The Bad Guys rounded out the top five with $5.6 million (I said $6.2 million) for $82 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

May 27-30 Box Office Predictions

***And a final update for Top Gun: Maverick as my prediction rises again to $113.4 million for the three-day and $138 million for the four-day. That it gives it the #2 all-time Memorial Day for both frames.

***Blogger’s Note: Another day, another significant update raising my Top Gun: Maverick prediction. Now at $103.7M for the three-day and $124.4M for the four-day.

**Blogger’s Note (05/24): My Top Gun: Maverick prediction has risen from a $75.6M and $98.8M three and four-day start to $86.6M and $104.9M

Tom Cruise is poised to land his largest debut of all time over this Memorial Day weekend with the long in development sequel Top Gun: Maverick as the animated The Bob’s Burgers Movie is also served up. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the pair here:

Top Gun: Maverick Box Office Prediction

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Box Office Prediction

Arriving 36 years after the first entry made Cruise a superstar, Maverick is generating terrific buzz. For the three-day portion of the holiday frame, it needs to surpass the $64 million earned by 2005’s War of the Worlds in order to set a personal best start. I have it achieving that feat with over $10 million to spare with a gross just shy of $100 million for the Friday to Monday haul.

As for Burgers, it could find itself locked in a race with Downton Abbey: A New Era for third.

After a three-week reign atop the charts, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will drop to second with The Bad Guys likely rounding out the top five.

Here’s how I see for the four-day frame and I’m throwing in the three-day projections for the newbies:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $138 million (Friday to Monday); **$113.4 million (Friday to Sunday)

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $22.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million (Friday to Monday); **$9.2 million (Friday to Sunday)

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

Box Office Results (May 20-22)

The good doctor held off competition for the third week as Multiverse took in $32.3 million, ahead of my $27.8 million projection. The MCU juggernaut is up to $342 million thus far.

Downton Abbey: A New Era settled for second with $16 million, a bit shy of my $18.4 million take. That’s on the lower end of expectations and significantly under the $31 million that its 2019 predecessor earned out of the gate.

The Bad Guys was third with $6.1 million, in range with my $5.7 million prediction for $74 million overall.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 took fourth with $4 million (I said $3.5 million) to bring its impressive tally to $181 million.

Alex Garland’s Men failed to attract an audience with $3.2 million for fifth. I was a little more generous at $4.1 million. Despite some decent reviews, the Cinemascore grade was a putrid D+.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was sixth with $3.1 million compared to my $2.7 million guesstimate. With $52 million in the bank, it is now A24’s highest domestic earner.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Top Gun: Maverick Box Office Prediction

***And a final update for Top Gun: Maverick as my prediction rises again to $113.4 million for the three-day and $138 million for the four-day. That it gives it the #2 all-time Memorial Day for both frames.

***Blogger’s Update (05/25): Significantly up-ticking my estimate once again. Now projecting a three-day of $103.7M (good for second biggest Memorial Day Friday to Sunday) and $124.4M for the four-day (third largest all-time). Sky is increasing the limit…

**Blogger’s Update (05/24): Estimate updated from a three and four-day projection, respectively, of $75.6M and $98.8M to $86.6M and $104.9M. That now gives Maverick the #7 largest Memorial Day weekend three-day and #6 four-day

It could be a record breaking memorable weekend for Tom Cruise as Top Gun: Maverick finally lands in theaters. The long gestating sequel arrives 36 years after the original made Cruise a superstar. The wait was only supposed to be 33-34 years, but production delays and COVID postponements altered the plan.

Joseph Kosinki, who previously directed the lead in 2013’s Oblivion, directs. Costars include Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Ed Harris, Monica Barbaro, and Val Kilmer reprising his role as Iceman. Critics have certainly indicated this is worth the wait. Budgeted at a reported $150 million, reviews are impressive with a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score. There’s even Oscar buzz as it will surely be a contender in Sound and Song (with Lady Gaga crooning “Hold My Hand”).

Paramount is hopeful that Maverick will take the breath and money away from moviegoers over the Memorial Day frame. The loud buzz generated by critics should make this soar even higher than previously anticipated.

In doing so, we could see Tom cruise to a personal best opening. Somewhat surprisingly, his all-time largest opening is War of the Worlds at $64 million for the traditional Friday to Sunday period. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (the last flick to feature Cruise four years ago) is close behind at $61 million.

Maverick will, of course, have a four-day tally. That’s familiar territory for Cruise as the first three Mission: Impossible tales premiered over Memorial Day with the second one doing $70 million from Friday to Monday. However, it opened on the Wednesday before to bring its gross to $91 million.

First things first. I do believe Tom’s latest sequel will achieve his highest three day take ever. I also suspect there will be some projections for Maverick that will be too high. A four-day take of over $100 million is absolutely doable (and my prediction could rise in the coming days), but I’m skeptical. That’s uncharted territory for Mr. Cruise. A Friday to Sunday haul in the mid 70s seems likelier. If that happens, it should achieve mid 90s for the whole frame. That would give it the ninth best Memorial 3 day start – in between Solo: A Star Wars Story ($84 million) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($72 million). It would rise a spot to 8th for the four-day between the same two features at $103 million and $90 million, respectively. And that would be a memorable start indeed.

Top Gun: Maverick opening weekend prediction: $113.4 million (Friday to Sunday); $138 million (Friday to Monday)

For my The Bob’s Burgers Movie, click here:

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Box Office Prediction

Captive State Box Office Prediction

Originally slated to open last summer, the sci-fi alien invasion thriller Captive State touches down in theaters next weekend. Rupert Wyatt, best known for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directs. John Goodman (no stranger to extraterrestrial beings as evidenced by 10 Cloverfield Lane) leads a cast that includes Ashton Sanders, Machine Gun Kelly, Alan Ruck, Kiki Layne, and Vera Farmiga.

The Focus Features release seems to be flying far under the radar. Many pics in this sub genre are high-profile releases with massive budgets. This comes with a price tag of only about $25 million. That was probably the catering receipt for War of the Worlds.

That said, I don’t see this recouping its minimal cost during the stateside domestic run. I’ll say this only reaches mid single digits (if it’s lucky) before it lifts off quickly to On Demand status. I’ll say it doesn’t even get there.

Captive State opening weekend prediction: $2.8 million

For my Wonder Park prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/wonder-park-box-office-prediction/

For my Five Feet Apart prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/five-feet-apart-box-office-prediction/

The Mummy Box Office Prediction

Bloggers Note (06/08/17) – poor reviews and word of mouth have caused a revision from $38.7M to $34.7M

Universal Pictures is hoping that next weekend’s The Mummy both successfully reboots their Brendan Fraser led franchise that began in 1999 and starts off their “Dark Universe” series to pleasing results. The action/horror flick features Tom Cruise in the lead role with Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Courtney B. Vance, and Russell Crowe in the supporting cast. Alex Kurtzman directs the reported $125 million production.

The aforementioned Dark Universe franchise is slated to bring us new additions of the Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Van Helsing, and Wolf Man sagas over the next few years. Our previous Mummy series gave us the original 18 years ago, which opened to $43 million and ended up earning $155M domestically. 2001 sequel The Mummy Returns was the high mark with a $68 million premiere and $202M overall haul. 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon was a low mark with a $40 million debut and $102M total.

This brings us to Mr. Cruise. He’s not the box office draw he once was and it’s worth noting that only the Mission: Impossible franchise and 2005’s War of the Worlds have made over $40 million out of the gate. That is probably the number The Mummy is poised to reach and that probably means a second place showing after the sophomore weekend of Wonder Woman. I’ll put it right under that mark.

The Mummy opening weekend prediction: $34.7 million

For my It Comes at Night prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/02/it-comes-at-night-box-office-prediction/

For my Megan Leavey prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/05/megan-leavey-box-office-prediction/

Summer 2005: The Top Ten Hits and More

Last week on the blog, we took a trip down nostalgia lane recounting the top ten summer movies from 20 years ago and other notable pictures and flops from that season. This evening, we go back a decade and have a look at what had moviegoers buzzing way back in 2005.

That summer’s top hit was the one we expected it to be as it marked the end of one trilogy that was considered disappointing. Yet it’s a performer in the middle of the pack that started one of the most beloved recent trilogies in recent film history.

Let’s go back in time, my friends:

10. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Domestic Gross: $109 million

As Judd Apatow prepares to release his fifth feature with Trainwreck on Friday, this is where it started with him as this critically acclaimed comedy rocketed Steve Carell into movie stardom.

9. Fantastic Four

Domestic Gross: $154 million

Critics may not have dug it (27% on Rotten Tomatoes) but the adaptation of the famed Marvel Comic with Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis scored with audiences enough to warrant a 2007 sequel. A new franchise reboot hits theaters this August.

8. The Longest Yard

Domestic Gross: $158 million

Adam Sandler took over the Burt Reynolds role in this remake of the 1974 prison football comedy with Chris Rock and Reynolds himself costarring.

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Domestic Gross: $186 million

The action comedy from director Doug Liman earned plenty of headlines due to the real life romance between stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and hefty box office came along with it. The couple will reunite onscreen again in this fall’s By the Sea. 

6. Madagascar

Domestic Gross: $193 million

With no Pixar film on the docket, Dreamworks Madagascar was the top animated feature of the summer and has since spawned two sequels and a spin-off.

5. Batman Begins

Domestic Gross: $205 million

It’s hard to remember now, but Chris Nolan’s reboot of the Dark Knight’s world did quite well, but wasn’t a mega ton blockbuster like its 2008 and 2012 sequels would be. Still, it immediately wiped the bad taste out of the mouth of audiences left by Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin from eight summers ago. Of course, this began the trilogy that has become the gold standard in superhero flicks.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Domestic Gross: $206 million

Tim Burton’s retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic book starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. It may not have the beloved status as 1971’s offering with Gene Wilder, but it made the studio very happy with its massive earnings.

3. Wedding Crashers

Domestic Gross: $209 million

The sleeper hit of the season paired Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and helped invigorate (along with #10 Virgin) the R-rated comedy. The two would appear again in the considerably less successful The Internship eight years later.

2. War of the Worlds

Domestic Gross: $234 million

Steven Spielberg directed Tom Cruise in this version of H.G. Wells renowned sci-fi novel and crowds turned out in droves so much that it’s Mr. Cruise’s highest grossing domestic earner of all time.

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Domestic Gross: $380 million

Sith easily took the crown for the summer’s champion and it concluded George Lucas’s second trilogy that received mixed reactions from critics and audiences… and that’s putting it kindly. This third episode is widely considered an improvement over Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Of course, we’ll see what JJ Abrams manages to do this December when Episode 7 is released… in case you hadn’t heard.

And now, some other notable pictures outside the top ten:

13. March of the Penguins

Domestic Gross: $77 million

This little French documentary that could astonished box office watchers with its magnificent stateside gross. Bottom line: people dig penguins.

18. Cinderella Man

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Critics mostly lauded Ron Howard’s Depression era boxing tale with Russell Crowe and Renee Zellwegger, but it under performed at the box office at the time of its release (not quite enough to put it in the total flop column though).

20. Crash

Domestic Gross: $54 million

Paul Haggis’s L.A. set racial drama came out of nowhere to score solid business. It went on to win Best Picture, which was a surprise over front runner Brokeback Mountain, which came out in the fall.

And now for the flops…

Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell headlined Nora Ephron’s Bewitched, based on the 1960s TV comedy. Audiences and critics reacted with ambivalence and the $85 million budgeted pic managed just $63 million domestically.

Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom captured none of the director’s Gladiator magic and it earned $47 million against its reported $130 million budget.

Michael Bay had found huge success with the Bad Boys movies, The Rock, and Armageddon, but his science fiction tale The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson sputtered with a mere $35 million (rumored budget: $126M).

And, finally, Jamie Foxx was coming off Oscar glory in Ray but his action thriller Stealth was grounded with a $32 million gross against its $76M budget.

And that’ll do it, ladies and gentlemen, for our look back at the summer offerings of 2005. I hope you enjoyed and rest assured you’ll see posts next summer tapping our nostalgia for 1996 and 2006!