You can say the movie industry really needs Top Gun: Maverick to work its Danger Zone blockbuster magic as it hits theaters this weekend.
And so far, the Tom Cruise movie looks like it’ll produce the most lucrative opening weekend in Cruise’s distinguished career.
Deadline reports that Top Gun: Maverick is expected to top $180 million in worldwide box office receipts. That would best the $167 million The Mummy totaled in 2017. That previously represented the best opening weekend in Cruise’s career.
In addition, Top Gun: Maverick is projected to bank up to $100 million at the domestic box office. The opening weekend extends through Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday.
The movie, which is the sequel to a 1986 blockbuster, has been building attention for the past month. It first started at last month’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Then there was the national premiere off the coast of San Diego. The party was on the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier.
How do you top that? Last week, the movie enjoyed an over-the-top premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Jets flew overhead, blowing red and blue smoke behind them. The audience inside the theater gave Cruise a raucous five-minute standing ovation.
Then the cast flew to London for a very royal premiere. Cruise walked the red carpet with Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate.
And earlier this week, Cruise and the cast traveled to Tokyo for another grand premiere.
Cruise also has done plenty of publicity for the movie. On Monday, he appeared on The Late, Late Show with James Corden. Here’s what was different about the appearance. Cruise took Corden flying, even getting into a (fake) dog fight with another plane.
“I’m very excited that James is doing this,” Cruise said during his appearance. “Was he the first late night show that I asked? Hell no. He was just the first one, the only one, to say yes.”
And the two bantered, but mostly about the first Top Gun. Cruise likened Corden to Goose, his best friend and wingman.
“When you said I’m your Goose it makes me feel excited,” Corden told Cruise. “And then I realize that Goose dies in the film.”
But Cruise explains. “you’re the first half of the film Goose. That ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ Goose.”
“That’s the Goose I want to be,” Corden says. “I want to be in a bar, singing…”
Of course, this isn’t a spoiler alert. Goose (Anthony Edwards) dies in Top Gun in a freak accident after he and Maverick tried to eject out of the jet. In Top Gun: Maverick, Goose’s son is one of the pilots. He goes by Rooster. And like his dad, he plays a mean “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano.
So, have you bought your Top Gun: Maverick tickets yet?