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Box office: 'Elvis' keeps mid-budget films alive as 'Maverick' soars to $1 billion

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read
In this article:
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"Elvis" is adding to increased optimism that mid-budget films are not dead yet.

After a heated box office battle against heavy hitter "Top Gun: Maverick," the Baz Luhrmann production earned $31.1 million in its domestic debut — slightly edging out "Maverick's" $29.6 million weekend pull.

"Overall, this really indicates that those middle tier movies are going to start filling out more and more as we get through the year," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, told Yahoo Finance.

He added that Jordan Peele's "Nope" — set to debut next month — will be another industry test when it comes to the performance of middle-tier films.

'Elvis' (Courtesy: Warner Bros. Picture)
'Elvis' (Courtesy: Warner Bros. Picture)

Sixty percent of the "Elvis'" audience was over the age of 35, with the majority being women over the age of 50 — a major win considering that demographic has been slow to return to theaters.

Coupled with the film's wide-ranging generational appeal, in addition to more comfort surrounding the theatrical return, "Elvis" "is not just a win for Warner Bros. It's a win for all of Hollywood," Robbins said.

"This instills a little bit more confidence to put out movies that appeal to an even wider range of demographics — we were pretty far away from that point one year ago," the analyst noted.

Maverick hits $1 billion globally

'Top Gun: Maverick' (Courtesy: Paramount)
'Top Gun: Maverick' (Courtesy: Paramount)

"Maverick" is benefitting from older audiences, too.

The sequel to the 1986 classic has smashed records since its Memorial Day Weekend debut — garnering more than $1 billion globally, despite not airing in Russia and China.

"I am afraid to put a ceiling on ['Maverick'] because it keeps accelerating and going higher and higher. It's an amazing achievement," Robbins said, adding it's "unheard of in the modern era" for a film to still be contending for first place five weeks after its release.

"Maverick" marks Tom Cruise's first $1 billion film, in addition to the first film of the year to reach that ten-digit milestone (and only the second in the COVID-era behind "Spider-Man: No Way Home.")

On Monday, Cruise posted a tweet celebrating "Maverick's" success:

Moving forward, Robbins noted that premium experiences will continue to be a main driver for films, with more consumers opting to see movies on higher-end screens like IMAX (IMAX.)

The analyst did caution, however, that this summer's crowded theatrical slate could hurt long-term returns as films compete for limited screen space.

Still, he anticipates that exhibitors will re-release certain titles once the market slows down in the fall.

That move will add to overall box office totals and provide more options — at least until theaters can return to a normal calendar year, which, according to Robbins, "isn't far around the corner anymore."

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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