The Unstoppable Top Gun: Maverick Passes Avengers: Infinity War At The Box Office

"Top Gun: Maverick" continues to soar to new heights, even after nearly three months in theaters. The "Top Gun" sequel has just hit another milestone. According to Variety, its total domestic box office haul is now $679 million, meaning it's officially the sixth-highest-grossing movie in U.S. box office history. "Avengers: Infinity War" is the latest casualty in the film's seemingly endless climb up the all-time domestic gross chart, as "Top Gun: Maverick" knocked it out of sixth place this weekend.

With its digital release set for this Tuesday, this might be the last major milestone "Top Gun: Maverick" hits in theaters as fans will likely start watching it at home. Paramount wisely suspended its typical 45-day theatrical window rule for the sequel, letting it play out the entire summer in theaters instead of moving it to Paramount+ after six weeks.

The movie is about $21 million short of entering the all-time top five domestic grossing films, with "Black Panther" being its next title to beat. Yet there's no rule that says "Top Gun: Maverick" can't keep playing in theaters if the demand is there, so it could coast into that number five slot if given enough time. The theatrical release calendar is looking pretty sparse until November, when "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" will debut alongside award season fare like Steven Spielberg's "The Fabelmans." In the meantime, what's to stop people who have already seen "Top Gun: Maverick" for going back to witness it on the big screen one more time?

A major win for Paramount

Although "Top Gun: Maverick" is a sequel, its success still feels like a win for original storytelling, especially given that all five titles that still stand above it on the all-time domestic box office chart are owned by Disney. In a time of diminished marketplace variety, the enduring thrills and crowd-pleasing action and drama of "Top: Gun Maverick" feel unique. They also signal a win for both Tom Cruise, who proves himself a massive box office draw decades into his career, and filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, whose biggest work before this was "Tron: Legacy."

As for "Avengers: Infinity War," it'll always have the chance to pull ahead again with inevitable future rereleases, but its directors don't seem quite as taken with the theatrical model lately, anyway. The Russo brothers recently espoused their support for the streaming model ahead of the release of "The Gray Man" on Netflix, with Joe Russo telling The Hollywood Reporter, "This idea that was created — that we hang on to — that the theater is a sacred space, is bulls***." But if the incredible staying power of "Top Gun: Maverick" is any indication, the theater is still a sacred place for a lot of people.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is in theaters now, and will be available on digital and home video beginning August 23, 2022.