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June 27, 2022

"Top Gun: Maverick" Becomes Highest-Grossing Movie of the Year and Tom Cruise's First $1 Billion Movie, and Just Barely Misses Taking the #1 Spot in America Again;
Lightyear Drops 65%

They had to tally into Monday morning to determine who won the weekend box office between the new Baz Luhrman Elvis movie, or Maverick in its fifth weekend; for a time, it looked like Maverick would take back the belt as the #1 movie in America. But Elvis just edged it out in a dead heat, $30.1 million to $29.6 million.

But Maverick did blast past the $1 billion global box office mark and the $500 million US mark. It's Cruise's first billion dollar movie, which seems strange, because he's been at this a while, and he's been in a lot of movies.

After only 31 days on the big screen, "Top Gun: Maverick" has become Tom Cruise's first movie to surpass $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Previously, 2018's "Mission: Impossible -- Fallout" ranked as the actor’s most successful film with $791.1 million worldwide.

Cruise took to Twitter to celebrate the achievement, writing, "To all the films in release, to all the studios, and to all the exhibitors: congratulations. To the audience: thank you for venturing out and allowing us to entertain you. See you at the movies."

I finally saw it this weekend. They put the movie back on IMAX screens for the weekend; it was the first time I've seen a movie in that format.

I won't do a review now but I would urge anyone on the fence to run out and see it in the theaters. The big screen and big sound will make a difference. There is no other movie that has featured this kind of aerial footage or stuntwork, ever. Second place would be a big step down. Watching it in IMAX actually exhausted me a bit because it was so intense.

In the trailer below, at 1:23, there's a shot of Cruise taking off from an aircraft carrier. It's a real shot. There's no CGI. The trick is that he's in the backseat of a two-seater plane, where the radar/electronics guy would sit, but he's pretending he's in a single-seat jet.

There's never been a shot like this before. And the trailer actually cuts it very short so as not to spoil it in the movie. In the movie, it's a real Star Wars hyperspace moment, if you can remember that feeling, that feeling of, okay, here we go, Blast off.

And speaking of a hyperspace moment: The whole third act is the Death Star trench run, basically, but with F-18 Superhornets and SAMs and a couple of "fifth-generation enemy fighters" that are blacked out enough to look a bit like Darth Vader's prototype TIE fighter.

It's really the sort of thing you're going to want to see on a big screen.

I don't know if it'll still be in IMAX at all but any big screen would be good as well. The biggest screen you can see it on. Like I said, I got a little rattled from the intensity of the noise and the very large IMAX screen so maybe seeing it on a conventionally-sized movie screen would be better for some.

If you want to see it in IMAX, you'd better hurry -- while there seem to be shows available tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday night, it seems back out of IMAX again by the weekend. (By Thursday night, actually, which is the real debut of new movies. Maybe Minions will be taking over the IMAX screens?)

Meanwhile, Disney and Pixar's Hot Woke Mess stumbled in its second weekend. After earning an embarrassing $50.1 million (down from projections of $70-85 million), Lightyear limped out of its second weekend having dropped 65% from its first disappointing weekend take. That's Pixar's second-biggest drop from first weekend to second -- and the first-place finisher had the advantage of having the covid lockdowns start during its opening.

Slashfilm pointed out that Maverick did great, Elvis opened better than expected, Jurassic Park continues performing pretty well for a movie I hear isn't all that good, and a new horror movie, The Black Phone, opened by taking $23.3 million. Which is good for a lower-budget horror movie.

The only movie that was a loser, they point out, was Lightyear. Which fell to fifth place.

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