Middle-aged Americans help jet ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to the biggest Memorial Day weekend in history

May 31, 2022, 12:26 PM UTC

Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 classic starring Tom Cruise, smashed Memorial Day records to take $156 million at the U.S. box office over the holiday weekend.

It marked the 59-year-old superstar’s first ever $100 million opening weekend.

Cruise’s biggest domestic opening weekend prior to the Top Gun sequel was 2005’s War of the Worlds, which opened to around $64 million.

Top Gun: Maverick surpassed the Memorial Day opening-weekend take of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which earned $153 million over the long weekend in 2007.

According to media analysis firm Comscore, the movie was shown at 4,735 locations nationwide between May 27 and May 30, taking an average of $32,946 at each location.

The film was also given a big boost by the 1980s crowd chasing a nostalgia hit, with around 55% of the movie’s audience over the age of 35, according to Paramount, the film’s distributor.

It secured 38.6% of market share over the Memorial Day weekend, Comscore’s data showed.

When Maverick hit the $100 million milestone earlier in the weekend, it made the film the top-grossing pandemic-era film that wasn’t a superhero movie.

The movie, which follows Cruise’s title character three decades after the events of Top Gun, has received rave reviews among critics and audiences.

According to movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of critics and 99% of audiences have enjoyed the film so far.

It was originally intended for release in the summer of 2020, but was one of several blockbusters to be delayed due to the pandemic.  

Globally, the film took almost $250 million in its opening weekend, Comscore said.

Top Gun: Maverick took the top spot from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the latest installment in Disney’s Marvel franchise, which has taken a cumulative $375 million in the U.S. since its release earlier this month.

Cruise was awarded an honorary Palme d’Or earlier this month at the Cannes Film Festival, where he said releasing Top Gun: Maverick on a streaming platform “was never going to happen.”  

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