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Memorial Day weekend used to be a huge occasion in the movie industry, but recent years have seen it often be one of the worst weekends to open a summer movie. It turns out, the key to having a fantastic opening on this once hallowed ground is to break out the big guns; or in this case, the big planes. Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick seems to have taught the world of upcoming movies this lesson rather quickly, as the legacy-quel is already breaking records after its first official day in theaters.
Those records aren’t just pandemic-influenced benchmarks either, as the $19.3 million haul reported by Deadline bests two huge Paramount records from the before times. Top Gun 2 now represents the best preview window in the history of the studio, which combines the grosses from fan events held earlier this week into the total from Thursday night’s showings.
Even better, Maverick’s return to the skies is now the best Memorial Day weekend preview. Showing just how dead this holiday has been, the previous record was set in 2009 by another Paramount movie. Previously, the $16 million previews for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the high water mark, up until Tom Cruise buzzed the tower and spilled coffee on Megatron.
Top Gun: Maverick’s big takeoff could represent another history making occasion: it might be Tom Cruise’s first $100 million opening. Believe it or not, $65 million is reported to be Cruise’s best opening thanks to Steven Spielberg’s 2005 adaptation of War of the Worlds. With yet another Paramount connection in the works for this rather connected patch of history, there’s a potential for the studio to rack up another Memorial Day win in 2023.
2023 marks the debut of the recently trailer’d Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Though next May already has huge players like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Fast X and Disney’s The Little Mermaid remake in play, the studio might be able to shake things up by moving this sequel into a May 26th release date. Tom Cruise’s star power, and the love for the Mission: Impossible franchise, could send some movies scurrying into other release dates, showing just how powerful Cruise is with his frequent studio partner backing him.
The opening weekend grosses for Top Gun: Maverick are probably only part of what Tom Cruise has on his mind right now. Goal-oriented as he may be, Cruise’s message to Top Gun fans on opening weekend shows that he wants moviegoers to have as much fun with this film as he did making it. Though there is one more goal post that star and studio are probably keeping in mind, as Top Gun: Maverick would have to beat the $139.8 million opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End for the title of the best Memorial Day weekend ever.
Can Maverick accomplish the most impossible mission of his life? You’ll have to see Top Gun: Maverick to find out, and it’s currently playing at a theater near you. Meanwhile, if you’ve got that lovin’ feeling for director Tony Scott’s 1986 original, at the time of this writing, you can relive the glory days of Top Gun on Paramount+. You can also check out the latest news on all upcoming Tom Cruise movies, as that information isn’t classified.