Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis” rocked theaters with an estimated $30.5 million in weekend ticket sales, but — in a box-office rarity — “Elvis” tied “Top Gun: Maverick,” which hit No. reported $30.5 million for 3. 1 in the theatre.
Final figures Monday, once Sunday’s earnings are tabulated, it will be decided which film wins the weekend. With a high degree of accuracy, studios can estimate Sunday sales based on Friday and Saturday business, although the numbers often vary by a few million dollars.
But for now, the unlikely pairing of “Elvis” and “Maverick” are locked in a dance-off (if you favor “Elvis”) or a dead heat (if you like “Maverick”). It was so close because of both a better-than-expected opening for “Elvis” and remarkably strong continued sales for “Top Gun: Maverick.” The “Top Gun” sequel reached $1 billion at the worldwide box office in its fifth week of release.
“Elvis,” starring newcomer Austin Butler as Presley, came in over the weekend with expectations close to $25 million. In more recent music biopics, a $30.5 million debut put King ahead of Elton John (“Rocketman” launched with $25.7 million in 2019) pace, though Freddie Mercury (“Bohemian Rhapsody” debuted at $51.1 in 2018). Million) was not in the same class. ,
Jeff Goldstein, Warner’s head of distribution, said, “I’m less concerned about who’s number one and who’s number two, and I’m more concerned that we’ve hit this big number, because that audience is going to hit theaters. I am the slowest to return.” Brothers
About 60% of viewers for “Elvis” were over the age of 35. Older audiences have been most hesitant to return to theaters in the pandemic, but that is changing — in part, Goldstein said, because of “Top Gun,” which brought back fans of the 1986 original.
“Elvis”, which cost approximately $85 million to make, was spurred by strong reviews (78% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), Mouth of Mouth (an A-CinemaScore) and a stellar Cannes Film Festival premiere. It added $20 million overseas over the weekend.
“Elvis” ranks as Luhrmann’s second-best opening after 2013’s “The Great Gatsby” ($50.1 million). Luhrmann was on the verge of starting production in Australia when, at an indelible early moment in the pandemic, star Tom Hanks tested positive for COVID-19.
“‘Elvis’ was a risky proposition: the music is out of date, the character isn’t directly familiar, and the lead actor is unpromising on the big screen,” David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research wrote in a newsletter. “But critics and audiences are reacting. It’s a Baz Luhrmann show, with a music, dance and sex appeal superb – it’s a hit.”
Meanwhile, “Top Gun: Maverick” continues to soar. The Paramount Pictures film became the first 2022 release to reach $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales, and the first starring Tom Cruise to do so.
In its fifth weekend of release, “Maverick” grossed a total of $521.7 million so far in US and Canadian theaters, a drop of just 32% domestically. It continues to move up the record book, ranking 15th domestically, not accounting for inflation. Internationally, the “Top Gun” sequel added another $44.5 million.
The “Elvis”/”Top Gun” showdown — with major holdovers in the new Blumhouse horror releases “The Black Phone” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” and Pixar’s “Lightyear” — made for one of the most competitive and hectic , weekends in theaters during the pandemic.
Most studios came to celebrate, although Disney’s “Lightyear” posted a whopping 65% drop in its second weekend. After slowly opening last week, the “Toy Story” spinoff grossed $17.7 million domestically, dropping to fifth place. “Lightyear,” which has earned $152 million worldwide so far, will soon face more competition for families with Friday’s release of “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”
The counterprogramming comes from Universal Pictures’ “The Black Phone,” the Scott Derrickson-directed supernatural thriller starring Ethan Hawke as an escaped killer. Blumhouse Production rode strong reviews (84% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) to a better-than-expected launch of $23.4 million.
After two weeks in first place, Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” grossed $26.4 million, slipping to third place. It has now exceeded $300 million domestically and $746.7 million globally.
A much smaller-scale film, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”, debuted in limited release with good sales. The warmly received stop-motion animation film, in which Jenny Slate voiced a one-inch-long mollusk with a googly eye, opened on six screens with $169,606, for a per-screen average of $28,267.
Estimated ticket sales in theaters in the US and Canada from Friday to Sunday, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. (tie) “Elvis,” $30.5 million.
1. (tie) “Top Gun: Maverick,” $30.5 million.
3. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $26.4 million.
4. “Black Phone,” $23.4 million.
5. “Lightyear,” $17.7 million.
6. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $1.7 million.
7. “Jugzug Live,” $725,000.
8. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” $533,000.
9. “The Bob’s Burger Movie,” $513,000.
10. “The Bad Guys,” $440,000.