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‘Elvis’ Croons Past ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to Win Rare Box Office Dance-Off With $31M

·4 min read

Elvis has danced ahead of Top Gun: Maverick to officially win the weekend box office race and top the domestic chart in its debut.

In a rare box office tie, Sunday studio estimates had Baz Luhrmann’s biopic — starring Austin Butler as Elvis Presley — and Top Gun: Maverick each earning $30.5 million.

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But final weekend numbers tallied on Monday morning show Elvis grossing $31.1 million after a strong Sunday, according to Warner Bros.

Paramount’s final weekend tally for Top Gun: Maverick is $29.6 million. An unusual confluence of events led to the dance-off. Top Gun: Maverick — which has jumped the $1 billion mark globally — rose back up the chart in its fifth weekend after being rereleased on select Imax and other premium large-format screens.

Elvis, from Warner Bros., has older moviegoers to thank for opening ahead of expectations: 56 percent of the audience so far is over the age of 35, including a whopping 29 percent over 55. Luhrmann’s frenetic Elvis Presley biopic skewed female (57 percent) and, not surprisingly, played best in the South. Audiences bestowed it with an A- CinemaScore and a 94 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score is lower, or 79 percent).

“It is an extraordinary accomplishment to get to this level of business, and see older moviegoers return to theaters,” says Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. The studio has been rocked by a leadership change in recent weeks as new boss, Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav, hired Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy to replace motion picture chairman Toby Emmerich, who is stepping down.

Overseas, the biopic took in $20 million from its first 52 markets for a global start of $50.5 million. The U.K. and Australia led with $4.7 million each.

Elvis co-stars Tom Hanks as infamous music manager Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge (The Visit) as Priscilla Presley.

Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Elvis would open in the $25 million range domestically, considering that adult dramas are a challenged genre in the pandemic era. Also, the marquee is the most crowded it has been since COVID-19 struck, with holdovers such as Top Gun 2, Jurassic World Dominion and Lightyear and new horror entry The Black Phone.

June 24-26 marked the first non-holiday weekend in five years when four titles earned $20 million or more and the first time that happened in four years for any weekend. And overall revenue was down only 10 percent from 2019, when Toy Story 4 alone debuted to $118 million.

Top Gun 2 achieved yet another milestone on Friday when it became only the second Hollywood release of the pandemic era to fly past $500 million domestically. (Last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $804.7 million in North America.) The Paramount and Skydance movie on Sunday crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide when finishing the day with a domestic total of $520.8 million and $486.1 million overseas.

Universal and Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion also continued to please in its third weekend as it approaches $750 million in worldwide ticket sales. The dino pic came in third domestically with $26.4 million to clear the $300 million mark in North America with a total through Sunday of $302.8 million.

Internationally, Jurassic World 3 grossed another $43 million from 72 markets for a foreign cume of $443.9 million and $746.7 million globally. That includes a hearty $114 million from China.

Like Elvis, Blumhouse and Universal’s The Black Phone also did better than expected in its domestic debut. The pic, fueled by moviegoers between ages 18 and 34, placed fourth domestically with an estimated $23.4 million opening.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, The Black Phone boasts an 87 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a B+ from audiences. The pic stars Mason Thames as a boy who receives supernatural help in his attempts to escape a serial killer played by Ethan Hawke. Overseas, it earned $12.4 million from 45 markets for a global start of $35.9 million.

One bummer is Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, which fell 65 percent to $17.7 million in its second outing after opening to a subdued $51 million a week ago. That’s an unprecedented decline for a Pixar movie (excluding Onward, which opened just as theaters began closing because of the pandemic and fell off 72 percent in its second weekend).

Lightyear’s 10-day domestic total is $88.8 million. Overseas, the Toy Story spinoff grossed $19.3 million from 43 markets for a foreign tally of $63.6 million and $152.4 million globally.

This story was first published on June 25 at 9:03 a.m.

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