Tom Cruise's newest film "Top Gun: Maverick" soared at the box office over Memorial Day Weekend, bringing in a new record of an estimated $156 million domestically over the four-day opening weekend.
Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins spoke to CNBC about the film's success over the holiday weekend and called it a "historic win" for the movie industry.
"Oh absolutely, this is a historic win for not only Paramount Pictures, but the movie business as well," Robbins said. "For a movie like this without a lead wearing a mask, and a cape, and tights to perform like its performed, it's truly amazing. We are thrilled."
"In the case of Maverick, Tom Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer, and the filmmakers delivered us a perfect film, and we put it theaters at the right time and audiences wanted to show up for it."
The previous Memorial Day Weekend record was set by "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" in 2007 with $153 million, according to CNN.
"Top Gun: Maverick" is the sequel to the 1986 hit "Top Gun," and had been in the works for years, but was delayed a number of times until it could be properly released in theaters. Robbins was asked if the company doubted holding out on releasing the movie straight to streaming instead of in theaters.
"No, this film was made for the big screen," Robbins said. "I don't know if you've seen the film, but Tom really thinks about the audience and wants to deliver for the audience. And this film is that. It was always going to go to the big screen, and good thing we did."
Cruise, who starred in the original "Top Gun" at just 24-years-old, earned the first $100 million debut of his 40-year career with "Top Gun: Maverick," according to Variety. His previous biggest opening weekend came in 2005 with "War of the Worlds," which did $64 million at the box office when it released in theaters.
With millions of Americans traveling over the long weekend, it's interesting to see the breakdown of who actually went to the theaters to see the film. Variety reported that about 55% of ticket buyers were 35 or older.
The Los Angeles Times noted that "Top Gun: Maverick" was expected to earn $130 million over Memorial Day Weekend, but more people made the time to go see the film in person.
A majority of the people who saw the new movie went on Friday, May 27, as it earned an estimated $52 million across 4,735 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo by IMBdPro. In addition to domestic sales, "Top Gun: Maverick" raked in about $126 million internationally, bringing its worldwide sales to $282 million.
Paramount’s domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson told Variety that the production company is thrilled with their decision to wait to release the movie. He added that they hope it will continue to draw people to theaters for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm gratified we made this decision to hang on," Aronson said. "This movie is going to have a huge run. It’s going to draw people to theaters who haven’t been in a long time."
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