Will ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Box Office Success Be a Game-changer for Movie Theatres? Experts Weigh In

by Leanne Stahulak

Since its debut over Memorial Day weekend, “Top Gun: Maverick” has produced phenomenal box office sales and inspired millions to return to the theaters.

This is a huge step forward for movie theaters and Hollywood executives. The pandemic caused many theaters to shut down, and they’ve only recently started filling back up again.

Thanks to major blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Jurassic World: Dominion,” and “Elvis,” The Hollywood Reporter reports that June numbers almost match pre-pandemic levels. In June, combined domestic box office sales nearly crossed $1 billion, for the first time since December 2019.

“It’s still a massive achievement. And figuratively, if the month lands just a few pennies short of the $1 billion milestone, it’s no less impressive,” Comscore box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told The Hollywood Reporter.

Combined sales equaled $986 million in June 2022, which is a 141% increase from June 2021 ($409.2 million). Though it’s still 11.6% down from June 2019’s $1.114 billion, per the outlet.

And while more movies continue to draw people in throughout July (“Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” especially), some execs wonder if this will be enough. They see a movie drought occurring at the end of the summer when content drops off.

“Publicly, there is a lot of celebration about the box office recovery,” one studio executive told THR. “Privately, there is a lot of concern about an upcoming lack of product.”

Another Hollywood executive added, “We are still in a pandemic recovery mode and not back to pre-pandemic grosses and attendance, but the box office results this summer are significantly better than we expected.”

Especially thanks to “Top Gun: Maverick,” which kicked off the summer season on a high note. Now, the film has grossed more than $1.11 billion worldwide after just a month.

Can Box Office Success Continue After ‘Top Gun: Maverick?’

But now, as “Top Gun: Maverick” prepares to leave theaters for streaming services, can movie theaters carry forward its momentum?

“I think things are getting better. The biggest issue for the box office is content. When there is depth of product, people seem to be showing up,” Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going to be in a typical summer deluge. Then there really isn’t very much to be had for a bit.”

August and September have a few offerings for different audiences. But nothing like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which appealed to demographics across the board.

In October, fans might turn out to see the new DC superhero film, “Black Adam.” Or the Julia Roberts and George Clooney rom-com, “A Ticket to Paradise.”

But most movie theaters will be holding out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s when more franchises return to the big screen. Keep an eye out for highly-anticipated sequels like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”