The box office performance of Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) in the three months since it was released deservedly high praise. When it reaches $660 million domestic, Maverick will become the biggest-grossing Paramount release in its history, supplanting the 1997 sequel Titanic.
This is where the hype train comes to a halt. If you believe Maverick has made more money than Titanic, you may also purchase a house in Los Angeles today for $180,000, the average home price in 1997. Inflation changes things, and Titanic earned its spot when the average ticket price was $4.59 half of the current average, last calculated in 2019 as $9.17.
Maverick should finish its domestic run with a $700 million to $725 million domestic gross, with Titanic, The Ten Commandments, and Raiders of the Lost Ark tied at the top; The Godfather, Forrest Gump, and Grease are all vulnerable, if it does surpass $725 million.
Putting an end to a magical accomplishment implies overlooking a far greater failure. Maverick is among the few Hollywood greatest hits that did more than make a lot of money. Each changed how films were created and distributed.
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With its $805 million domestic and$1.097 million foreign investment, Maverick is more valuable than Spider-Man: No Way Home, but it's not a comic book or otherwise part of a conventional franchise. It's been years since Cruise's time in anything outside of his Mission: Impossible franchise.
With high ratings, a professional PR campaign led by Cruise, and a well-played Cannes premiere, it opened to $126 million domestic in the first three days. Thats impressive, but even more impressive is it will end up with a multiple between five and six times its opening, which is unusual for an opening of that magnitude.
So not only is Maverick the greatest film of the year, it will finish substantially ahead of the Marvel movies, The Batman, and the latest Jurassic World entry. They are what studios prefer to make, costs being damned ($200 million or more).
The most significant aspect of the film is that, as of now, in its 10th week in run, there is no immediate indication of its availability anywhere other than in theaters (PVOD release after either the third or sixth weekend, depending on opening gross). Pre-Covid, the normal rollout was 75 days for PVOD, 90 for VOD and retail sales of DVD and Blu-ray, and 120 days for physical rentals.
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Before it went to PVOD, No Way Home spent just under three months as a theatrical exclusive. The equivalent for Maverick would be around August 20. No official announcement has been made, but sources suggest that the next platform(s) will be released after Labor Day.
Paramount+ would follow Disney and Warners' footsteps by adding Maverick after 45 days as a critical note. Continuing to favor theaters, longer than any major film in years, would have an enormous impact.
At a time when films and theaters need the ego boost, numbers and comparisons provide sexy headlines and feel-good reinforcement, but repeating the dubious claim that Maverick is the studios' largest film ever risks burying even more vital achievements.
Maverick, likely more than any film, has saved the theatrical model. It became a must-see film even more importantly, must-see in theaters.
No other Paramount film can match that claim.