The Tom Cruise name rarely hurts ticket sales. Otherwise, over half a dozen Mission: Impossible movies wouldn’t, well, have been possible. And yet, even in an already stellar 40-plus year screen-acting career, Cruise is smashing through his already impressive ticket sales records. Top Gun: Maverick will be the biggest movie opening of Cruise’s career so far.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, at an absolute minimum, Top Gun: Maverick is projected to make $92 million domestically on its opening weekend. Meanwhile, less conservative estimates put the opening at $100 million or even over $125 million. To put this in perspective: as well as Tom Cruise movies do, without adjusting for inflation, there isn’t another film that comes close. Before Maverick, Cruise’s biggest opening weekend was 2005’s War of the Worlds which brought in almost $65 million. Not far behind is 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout which opened at $61.2 million.
It’s an incredible feat by any metric. While Top Gun: Maverick is a sequel, its predecessor came out 36 years ago. It’s not a big budget superhero film from Marvel or Warner Bros. And in the meantime while audiences seem genuinely more willing to brave the theaters than they did this time last year, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and putting butts in theater seats is still a feat.
Perhaps it’s precisely because Top Gun: Maverick promises a relatively unique movie-going experience that audiences are driven to see it. There’s nothing wrong with a new Doctor Strange or Spider-Man film. Action films, thrillers, horror flicks; they’re all great. But there isn’t a thriving, popular genre of dogfighting films with top-tier Hollywood talent filmed in actual fighter jets, and in this arena the new Tom Cruise movie is alone.
Which isn’t to suggest the new Tom Cruise flick doesn’t stand on its own merits. The sequel premiered at Cannes to a 6 minute standing ovation. It’s currently ruling the roost on Rotten Tomatoes with an amazing 97% critics score. Though the score may drop at least a little after the wide theatrical release, for now that ties it with Cruise’s most acclaimed flick according to RT, Mission: Impossible — Fallout.
And we can guarantee you that Tom Cruise shows up in this one, by the way, though many fans were upset he didn’t show up in a slightly earlier blockbuster. Based on the fact that Cruise was Marvel’s first choice to play Tony Stark, there was a lot of speculation that he would show up as a multiversal variant of Iron Man in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Cruise, in fact, did not appear in the flick, though there were some other interesting and unexpected cameos from across the multiverse.
Top Gun: Maverick opens this Friday, May 27 in theaters all over the U.S. Along with Tom Cruise, the film stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and Val Kilmer. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie.