Top Gun: Maverick Is Jetting Off To An Estimated $150 Million Memorial Day Weekend

Tom Cruise blew right past the danger zone and decided to land his plane in some very exclusive territory: the $100 million opening club. Believe it or not, one of the world's biggest movie stars — whose career has spanned four action-packed decades — has never had an opening weekend hit the $100 million mark

But moviegoers decided to take the need for speed to heart, because they're flocking to screens so quickly that Variety reports "Top Gun: Maverick" is projected to earn a whopping $150 million over the holiday weekend ($123 million Friday-Sunday). The original projection for "Maverick" saw the film opening between $85 million and $100 million over the long weekend, but time has proven we should never underestimate the power of Tom Cruise.

$150 million doesn't just mark a new record for Cruise — it blows his previous highest-earning opening weekend out of the water (Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" opened to $64.8 million in 2005). Speaking of records, "Top Gun: Maverick" really hit the ground running on opening day, drawing an enormous $51.8 million, which includes the $19.3 million from Thursday previews. This is a new milestone for Paramount, whose previous record was the $51.2 million earned by "Iron Man 2."

Maverick is picking up speed

At long last, Tom Cruise is the one who gets to yell "show me the money" into a phone! The expectations for "Top Gun: Maverick" were already sky-high — and not just because of the pun potential. The lead-up to this film was insanely long because even in the face of a pandemic, Cruise was determined to see it debut in theaters. "Maverick" was originally set to premiere in the summer of 2020, before we knew how bleak those summer days would actually be. When the pandemic hit and the industry shifted around it, Paramount let many of its big titles hit streaming instead. On-demand and day-and-date releases were becoming the norm, but Cruise stuck to his guns and refused to let the legacy sequel skips theaters — a decision that's finally paying off, two years later.

Crazy as its current projections already are, between the power of word-of-mouth and the extra bump of a holiday weekend, "Maverick" has the potential to keep picking up speed. Hype for this film has been strong since the very first footage debuted at last year's CinemaCon, and recent weeks have reignited that excitement. If its opening weekend projections continue to expand, "Top Gun: Maverick" could become the biggest memorial day opening of all time — but it would have to exceed the $153 million opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which has held the title since 2007. This is quite an unexpected development from a sequel to a cheesy-action flick from 26 years ago, but that's star power for ya.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is now playing in theaters.

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOP GUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: "Rooster," the son of Maverick's late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka "Goose." Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.