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Memorial Day box office preview: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ opens summer movie slate

Yahoo Finance’s Alexandra Canal joins the Live show to discuss the box office expectations for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and upcoming summer movie releases.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: The summer movie slate set to take off this weekend with "Top Gun Maverick" hitting theaters across the country tomorrow. For more on that and what to look forward to this summer is Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal. Alexandra, it's great to have you kind of walk us through exactly what we should expect now that Memorial Day is here, which means it's officially summer.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, Brian, I'm excited. I'm a big summer girl, but that means that the movies are back. And "Top Gun Maverick" is hoping to take flight this weekend, and expectations are certainly high. Paramount is a little more modest, saying they expect the film to pull in $92 million over the long holiday weekend. But many of the analysts that I've spoken with says they could see this film surpassing $100 million, just for the opening weekend.

And if that happens, that will be star Tom Cruise's first movie to hit a $100 million plus opener, which surprises me because I feel like he's been in a lot of really big movies. So far, Cruise's biggest domestic opener was 2005's "War of the Worlds," which garnered $64.8 million at the box office over an extended July 4th weekend.

So that would certainly be a great news for Tom Cruise and also good news for the box office, because I spoke with Shawn Robbins. He's chief analyst at Box Office Pro. He told me that this could possibly be a new record when it comes to the biggest domestic opening of Memorial Day weekend. Currently, that sits with "Pirates of the Caribbean" from 2007, so this would be a great thing for the theatrical comeback, especially as they've continued to battle headwinds with COVID-19.

The only downside here for "Top Gun Maverick" could be the fact that this is a sequel. It heavily relies on the 1986 original. So there's questions about how much use appeal there will be for this. There's also been a slowing audience return in terms of the older demographic, that older audience, although Tom Cruise, he does pull well with the females. He does pull well with that older generation. So those potentially could be the only downsides here. But right now, the reviews for this film have been off the charts, 97% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. So certainly a lot of expectations surrounding this movie.

AKIKO FUJITA: Allie, I just did the calculation in my head. 36 years since the original "Top Gun," right? So, in some ways, there's a big chunk of the audience that doesn't even remember the original, or--

BRIAN CHEUNG: I didn't see it.

AKIKO FUJITA: --well, first of all, they weren't alive for the original movie. I mean, I wonder how that plays into it. I mean, it's kind of a whole new movie for a lot of people. But can you talk about the appeal there, but also how this is going to kind of pave the way for the rest of the summer season.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Absolutely, Akiko. The analyst that I talked with said that's really the biggest risk here. I have not seen the original "Top Gun," but I am interested in it now that this movie is coming out. So I wonder if there is going to be some sort of spillover effect. But we do know that that younger demographic, especially young males, they've returned to the theaters in droves. So I think that could potentially be something to watch and could be a detriment when it comes to the opening weekend performance of this movie.

But you mentioned some of the big films that we had coming out the rest of this summer. And "Top Gun" really sets us up for a strong summer blockbuster season. We have films like-- oh, look at that. Oh, my gosh. I love that.

[LAUGHTER]

BRIAN CHEUNG: Oh, my gosh.

AKIKO FUJITA: Oh.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I tried to talk [INAUDIBLE] you guys are just taking flight for "Top Gun Maverick" this opening weekend. But yes, this summer, we have films like "Jurassic World." We have "Lightyear." We have a lot of more family-friendly films, a lot of different genres that hopefully can sort of build on each other and not take away any of the audience there. So it's going to be a big season, and I'm excited for it. But I don't think we're back to 100% normal just yet.

AKIKO FUJITA: See, Allie, this is not fair. I was going to say, if I knew, I would have brought aviators. Those aren't aviators, by the way.

BRIAN CHEUNG: They're not aviators, but.

AKIKO FUJITA: That is not what they wear in "Top Gun."

BRIAN CHEUNG: I'm still cool enough to wear shades indoors, though.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Wait, I think I have aviators somewhere. Oh, yeah, here we go.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Oh! There we go. Wow, Akiko.

AKIKO FUJITA: There you go. I know.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Someone missed out on the memo.

AKIKO FUJITA: I'm the outlier. I do have the same sunglasses, by the way.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Embarrassing.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Love it.

AKIKO FUJITA: But aviators in hand, we'll all see you at the movie theater this weekend.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: See you at the movies, Akiko.

AKIKO FUJITA: Allie Canal, as always, thank you so much for that.