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$124 million is Tom Cruise’s best domestic debut

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Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick”

Source: Paramount

LOS ANGELES – “Top Gun: Maverick” soared to $124 million during its opening weekend, earning Tom Cruise his highest domestic debut.

The prolific actor, who has made a reputation for himself as a fearless stuntman, has generated greater than $4.2 billion on the domestic box office since 1981 but had previously never had a movie open to greater than $65 million.

The Paramount and Skydance film also generated $124 million internationally, bringing its total opening weekend haul to $248 million. The studio expects the film to succeed in $151 million for the four-day Memorial Day weekend. The film could have a powerful hold over the following few weeks because it faces limited box office competition until the June 10 release of Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion.”

“The summer movie season is back,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The performance of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a shocking reminder that if you mix one among the last real movie stars with great quaint story telling, audiences of all ages will rush out to the theater to be a component of the communal greater than life moviegoing experience.”

The massive opening for “Top Gun: Maverick” is a positive sign for the box office, which continues to be recovering from the continued pandemic. The film drew in older audiences, a coveted demographic that has been slower to return to cinemas since they began to reopen in mid-2020.

Around 29% of tickets sold throughout the weekend were for showings before 3 p.m. and 35% were were for screenings between 3 p.m. and seven p.m., in line with EntTelligence. This means that a major chunk of ticket sales were for matinee shows, a time period that older moviegoers gravitate towards.

Only 11% of tickets were sold for showings held after 9 p.m. In accordance with data from Paramount, 55% of moviegoers were over the age of 35.

Around 9 million moviegoers are expected to see “Top Gun: Maverick” over its first three days in theaters, in line with EntTelligence. That is greater than 4 times the 2 million patrons that saw the unique “Top Gun” in theaters during its debut in 1986.

Not including Thursday preview screenings, 32% of tickets were sold for premium format showings, with the typical ticket price hitting $16.32. Non-premium tickets averaged at around $12.86 a chunk, EntTelligence reported.

The film’s strong performance also comes just weeks after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed it had bought 68.9 million shares of Paramount to construct a stake price $2.6 billion as of the tip of March.

Paramount was Berkshire’s 18th largest holding at the tip of the primary quarter. The brand new stake adds one other streaming property to Berkshire’s portfolio, whose top holding is Apple.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Jurassic World: Dominion.”

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