Top Gun: Maverick soared to the top of the box office, with a record $124 million at North American theaters from Friday to Sunday, according to box office tracking company Comscore.
That was more than enough to fly past the previous Memorial Day weekend record set by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which earned $114.7 million in its first three days in theaters in 2007.
The long-awaited follow up to 1986’s Top Gun opened in 4,735 locations, bringing in a stunning per theater average of $26,188. The sequel is expected to earn a four-day total of $151 million through Monday.
Top Gun: Maverick centers on Tom Cruise’s character, Navy pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. After thirty years of service, Maverick now teaches at the Top Gun school training young fighter pilots.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the Paramount and Skydance film also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Jay Ellis, and Val Kilmer.
The movie was shot in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, and Cruise made headlines after chastising crew members for ignoring social distance guidelines.
In audio obtained by British tabloid The Sun, Cruise lost it when he saw two people standing too close together on set. He told the crew members they were putting jobs in jeopardy by violating coronavirus protocols. He then reminded the crew that many others in the industry had lost their jobs and “f—ing homes because our industry is shut down.”
Fast forward two years. Top Gun: Maverick is the best opening ever of Cruise’s four-decade movie career, Deadline reports.
Elsewhere at the weekend box office, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came in a distant second place with $16.4 million in its fourth week of release, Comscore reported.
The animated comedy The Bob’s Burgers Movie opened in third place with $12.6 million Friday through Sunday.
Downton Abbey: A New Era was fourth with $5.9 million in its second week, and The Bad Guys rounded out the top five with $4.6 million in its sixth week.
Check out the box office chart below from Comscore.