Top Gun: Maverick finally fires up its engines around the world this weekend, and you don’t need to have been in stealth mode to have heard that it’s the kind of film the big-screen experience was made for.
We called it “the perfect summer blockbuster” in our review, and “an expertly crafted adrenaline rush with a heart that beats as loudly as an F-18 thrusting engine”, but how will that translate in a pandemic-era marketplace in which adult fare hasn’t equated to bums on seats?
According to THR industry experts have the 36-years in the making sequel pegged for an opening of at least $92 million domestic, which would easily best Tom Cruise’s biggest opening weekend of all time, which is currently a record held by 2005’s War of the Worlds with $64.9M.
However, that Top Gun 2 estimate is a very conservative one, with some believing that the 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reaction from those who’ve seen the film, could see the Joseph Kosinski directed sequel fly north of $100M, possibly even soaring towards $125M over the Memorial Day weekend.
Originally set to touch down in 2020, Top Gun: Maverick has done the pandemic shuffle more times than most films, with Cruise insisting that it debuted in cinemas and not on a streaming service. It now becomes quite the litmus test for non-superhero related blockbusters, especially when you consider that this is a legacy sequel to a film released in 1986, so the key demographic may still be reluctant to venture to the theatre.
Still, a worldwide opening above $200M and the fact Tom Cruise movies tend to have decent multipliers at the box-office, should ensure that this sets out on a decent trajectory over the weekend.
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”.
Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.
Top Gun: Maverick features a cast including stars Tom Cruise (Maverick), Val Kilmer (Iceman), Jennifer Connolly (American Pastoral), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Ed Harris (Westworld), Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale), Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Charles Parnell (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Bashir Salahuddin (Glow), Monica Barbaro (The Good Cop), Danny Ramirez (The Gifted), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jay Ellis (Insecure), Kara Wang (Good Trouble), Jack Schumacher (Empire), Greg Tarzan Davis (Chicago P.D.), Jake Picking (Blockers), Raymond Lee (Mozart in the Jungle), Jean Louisa Kelly (Ant-Man) and Lyliana Wray (Strange Angel).
Top Gun: Maverick is out in cinemas now.