Elvis Presley is King again. After Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick duked it out for number one, locked in a dead heat, the King prevailed over Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
In a rare tie for box office supremacy, Baz Luhrmann’s biopic eventually broke away and emerged the winner Monday with $31.1 million over Tom Cruise movie’s $29.6 million. But box office pundits stressed that if Elvis’ preview earnings of $3.5 million were not factored in and only the Friday to Sunday grosses were taken into account, Top Gun: Maverick won the three-day race.
Elvis, a biographical musical drama that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May and drew a standing ovation, is anchored on Austin Butler’s critically acclaimed portrayal of the music legend. Backed by Presley’s family, led by his widow Priscilla Presley, Elvis also stars Tom Hanks as the legend’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, Olivia DeJonge, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
After four weekends, Maverick has become Cruise’s first $1 billion movie in his career and only the second film (after Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has grossed a staggering $1.9 billion worldwide) to hit that benchmark in the pandemic.
Top Gun 2, which has earned $1.7 billion globally, has beaten Benedict Cumberbatch’s Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as this year’s biggest North American hit.
The Top Gun sequel’s success is all the more remarkable because, for a change, its domestic earnings ($521.7 million) surpass the offshore’s ($486.1 million). And that’s without the help of a China release. Pundits are also citing the unusually large percentage of filmgoers showing up to watch Maverick again.
Jurassic World Dominion settled for third place with $26.4 million.
Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, the latest horror film from producer and Blumhouse founder Jason Blum, debuted in fourth with $23.3 million. Based on the novel of the same name by Joe Hill, The Black Phone stars Mason Thames, Ethan Hawke, Madeleine McGraw, James Ransone, and Jeremy Davies.
In a further encouraging sign that the moviegoing attendance is on its path to full recovery, all top four movies made over $20 million, a first in the COVID-19 health crisis era. Box office analysts also noted that Elvis is drawing more adult women, a segment that has been among the most reluctant to return to the movie theaters since the COVID health crisis.
The only sad development was the 65 percent second-weekend drop of Pixar’s Lightyear, which netted $17.66 million. With a voice cast led by Chris Evans, the Toy Story spinoff ranked fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were, in order, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, $1.72 million; Raj Mehta’s Jug Jugg Jeeyo, a family comedy-drama which is the latest Indian movie to break into the magic box office circle on its bow, $725,000; Everything Everywhere All at Once, $533,000; The Bob’s Burgers Movie, $513,000; and The Bad Guys, $440,000.
Overseas, Captain Maverick is still the king with $44.5 million in over 70 markets. Jurassic World Dominion is also still roaring internationally with $43 million.
Elvis collected $20 million in more than 50 territories, debuting at the top in Luhrmann’s native Australia. The Black Phone took in $12.5 million and performed strongly in various markets, from Mexico, the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia.