news As ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Soars, Total Box Office Still Lags

It’s astounding: “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount), then everything else.

Most box-office reporting this weekend focuses on the unquestionably stunning results for Tom Cruise’s sequel. Through 10 days of domestic play, it’s grossed $190 million ($357 million worldwide). A second-weekend drop of only 32 percent portends that it will go much, much higher and has the potential to become the highest-grossing 2022 release.

Its performance deserves all the accolades — but without the misleading reporting. “Maverick” will likely be Cruise’s biggest hit, and among Paramount’s 10 top performers. But unless one thinks ticket prices remained unchanged for the last 40 years — or ever — it’s getting undue credit for box-office records.

Its second-weekend fall is indeed very small, but not the smallest; “Avatar” (which would have grossed $100 million adjusted in its second weekend) fell less than two percent.

“Maverick” has an advantage that made this more likely. Most films that open over $100 million are sequels, with a built-in awareness and the audience’s desire to see it right away.

Although a sequel 36 years later, “Maverick” is not really a franchise. And with its appeal to older audiences, it had room to grow among a wider set of moviegoers with its great word of mouth Few films get A+ Cinemascores and even fewer at this level of performance.

Another factor in its favor: Unlike most big films in summer release, “Maverick” lacked competition among holdovers or openings. That will change Friday when “Jurassic World: Dominion” (Universal) debuts. It has already grossed $55 million in 15 initial territories, and is expected to exceed the “Maverick” opening weekend.

In the meantime, it’s feast or famine. “Maverick” made up nearly 75 percent of the weekend’s business and that’s a big problem for theaters.

This is prime summer playtime. The same weekend in 2019 grossed $174 million, with this year’s only 67 percent as much.

Not only is the total much lower, but it’s an entirely different market composition. In 2019, the top 10 saw two films gross over $40 million, three over $25 million, four over $18 million, five over $11 million. This year, only one — “Maverick” — made more than $10 million.

“Maverick” is impressive and critical, but that is unhealthy. It will take more than unusual films thriving if theaters are going to get back to normal.

This will improve next weekend, and likely over the course of the summer. For now, our four-week comparison to 2019 remains at a subpar 67 percent.

Crimes of the Future

Crimes of the Future

screenshot/Neon

No new wide release opened this week. Two multi-hundred theater openings of well-received independent films debuted at the low end of the top 10. David Cronenberg’s much-talked about “Crimes of the Future” is #9 with $1.1 million (per theater, $1,423), while “Watcher” (IFC) is #10 with $815,000. But “Crimes” dropped 35 percent Saturday from Friday. “Watcher” stayed steady. The latter is the best opening ever for an IFC Midnight-brand release (most of their titles have limited debuts and often parallel VOD play).

Of note: Our top 10 doesn’t list Paramount’s “The Lost City” since much of its total includes drive-in dates with “Maverick.” That film includes the same numbers, making “City” a double count. (It’s a common, and misleading, industry practice).

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Disney) will exceed $400 million and is currently #1 for the year, but “Maverick” will surpass it. The Marvel film fell 42 percent and is #2. Meantime, “The Bob’s Burger Movie” (Disney) defied recent second-week play for family titles and dropped 64 percent.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) continues to be the shining beacon for specialized titles. Ahead of its very late home availability this week, it is still #6 and now stands at over $60 million.

Few films can replicate this performance, as “Crimes” and “Watcher” indicate. Specialized is remains in flux with some new titles trying limited initial releases, others opening in many big cities. Neither guarantees success.

Terence Davies’ “Benediction” (Roadside Attractions), near the top of acclaimed releases this year, played in 91 theaters with a $47,650 gross. “The Phantom of the Open” (Sony Pictures Classics), a comedy with Mark Rylance at six prime New York/Los Angeles theaters managed $26,000 ahead of wider national release.

Of note are other nontraditional initial dates. “Deep in the Heart” (Fin & Fur), a Texas-set nature documentary, had a decent $126,000 start at 69 theaters in that state. “Poser” (Oscilloscope), set among the indie scene in Columbus, Ohio, did $15,250 in its initial theater date there. “Neptune Frost” (Kino Lorber), an African-set science fiction musical with significant previous film festival play, grossed $10,000 in one New York date.

The Top 10

1. Top Gun: Maverick
(Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$86,000,000 (-32%) in 4,751 (+16) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $18,101; Cumulative: $291,604,000

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #2

$9,251,000 (-42%) in 3,765 (-40) theaters; PTA: $2,457; Cumulative: $388,711,000

3. The Bob’s Burger Movie (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$4,500,000 (-64%) in 3,425 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,314; Cumulative: $22,240,000

4. The Bad Guys (Universal) Week 7; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$3,340,000 (-24%) in 2,869 (-75) theaters; PTA: $1,163; Cumulative: $87,291,000

5. Downton Abbey (Focus) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$3,000,000 (-48%) in 3,451 (-379) theaters; PTA: $864; Cumulative: $35,702,000

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 11; Last weekend #6

$2,021,000 (-18%) in 1,434 (+247) theaters; PTA: $1,409; Cumulative: $60,562,000

7. Vikram (Prime) NEW

$(est.) 1,800,000 in 465 theaters; PTA: $3,871; Cumulative: $1,800,000

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount) Week 9; Last weekend #7; also on Paramount + and PVOD

$1,725,000 (-30%) in 2,092 (-237) theaters; PTA: $; Cumulative: $188,269,000

9. Crimes of the Future (Neon) NEW – Metacritic: 67

$1,100,000 in 773 theaters; PTA: $1,423; Cumulative: $1,100,000

10. Watcher (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 70

$815,000 in 764 theaters; PTA: $1,067; Cumulative: $815,000

Mark Rylance in The Phantom of the Open

“The Phantom of the Open”

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases​


The Phantom of the Open (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW – Metacritic:; 65 Festivals include: London 2021

$26,189 in 6 theaters; PTA: $4,365

Benediction (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include Toronto 2021

$47,650 in 91 theaters; PTA: $523

Deep in the Heart (Fin & Fur) NEW

$126,250 in 69 theaters; PTA: $1,830

Neptune Frost (Kino Lorber) NEW – Metacritic: 82; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto, New York 2021, Sundance 2022

$10,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $10,000

Poser (Oscilloscope) NEW – Festivals include: Tribeca 2021

$15,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $15,000

A Chiara (Neon) Week 2

$9,800 in 20 (+18) theaters; PTA: $490; Cumulative: $17,648

Men (A24) Week 3

$401,423 in 991 (-1,205) theaters; Cumulative: $7,169,000

Family Camp (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$146,870 in 403 (-169) theaters; Cumulative: $3,733,000

Jazzfest: A New Orleans Story (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 6

$54,804 in 302 (+296) theaters; Cumulative: $75,847

Eiffel (Blue Fox) Week 6

$100,175 in 308 theaters; Cumulative: $308,303

Petit Maman (Neon) Week 7

$12,500 in 31 (-11) theaters; Cumulative: $792,310

The Duke (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$39,762 in 82 (-20) theaters; Cumulative: $1,409,000
 
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