At the end of the day, the box office is what fuels Hollywood; studios are businesses looking to turn a profit after all. The MCU currently stands at the financial forefront of blockbusters, having pumped out many record-breaking hits over the years, including Avengers: Endgame - which was briefly the highest-grossing film of all time - and just recently Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the game of how the box office worked in 2020 as theaters closed for an extended period and have since struggled to reclaim the same success. Things have started to look up though as life gradually returns to normality and No Way Home was a major milestone in that recovery.
After months of anticipation surrounding the Spider-Man flick, the film opened with the second-highest domestic opening ever at $260 million before going on to become the first film to cross $1 billion at the box office since 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
This record-break was only in part due to the film's extraordinary opening, but also due to how it kept on winning for the weeks and months to come. Now, No Way Home has lost one of its post-opening records to Top Gun: Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick Beats Spider-Man Records
According to Luiz Fernando, as it enters its second weekend in theaters, Top Gun: Maverick has beaten Spider-Man: No Way Home's box office record for the biggest second Friday of the pandemic era.
The Spider-Man event delivered an impressive $19.7M haul on its second Friday (Christmas Eve), which the Top Gun sequel has now surpassed with $25M - only a 52% drop from opening day compared to the 83.9% of No Way Home.
Tom Cruise's latest flick is eyeing a weekend-two of $85M-$90M for a low drop of 33%-28%. No Way Home concluded its second weekend with an $84.5M gross for a 67.5% drop.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness recently earned $17.1M on its second Friday (an 81.1% drop) and $61.7M on weekend two (a 67% drop).
Maverick ought to conclude its second weekend at around $295M and has been estimated for a U.S. run of $480M-$520M. By the end of the weekend, the long-awaited sequel will have become the highest-grossing film of Cruise's career domestically - beating the $234M of 2005's War of the Worlds.
Top Gun: Maverick Smashes the Box Office
Having beaten the second weekend of both No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun Maverick has proven itself to be a powerful force at the box office. There are a number of reasons behind this impressive box office performance, all of which ought to fuel it for weeks to come.
Maverick received exceptional word-of-mouth among moviegoers throughout the week after opening to glowing reactions from critics and fans. The sequel currently sits with 97% critics and 99% audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, demonstrating the positive response the film has received.
Word-of-mouth can be a highly influential factor at the box office, particularly when it comes to the second weekend. No Way Home and Maverick both earned A+ audience scores, leading to an impressive hold from both, while Morbius and Multiverse of Madness received lower scores and dropped off heavily.
Having been released in 1986, the original Top Gun is regarded among the most notable films of Cruise's career and one that has now been seen by multiple generations. More than any comic book film, Maverick will undoubtedly see moviegoers from every generation and may well prove to be the first theater visit for many since the pandemic began.
Between critical response and the generational split, Maverick ought to have legs that keep it winning at the box office for weeks to come. The Top Gun sequel will seemingly cross War of the Worlds to become Cruise's biggest domestic box office hit this weekend, and by current estimates, it should beat it worldwide when all is said and done.
Top Gun: Maverick is playing now in theaters worldwide.