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‘Top Gun: Maverick’ draws moviegoers back to theaters after pandemic delay

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ sales topping box office records after the movie faced several pandemic delays.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: "Top Gun, Maverick" is the new titleholder for a Memorial Day open, raking in an estimated $156 million domestically over the four days this weekend. That broke the previous record of $153 million set by the third "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie in 2007, Akiko. I haven't seen it yet. I mean, it looks awesome. But obviously it's an ode to the very popular 1986 original. But it's crazy that it took Tom Cruise coming back to make a movie in 2022--

AKIKO FUJITA: A 59-year-old actor.

BRIAN CHEUNG: 59-year-old actor I think still doing his stunts.

AKIKO FUJITA: He's still doing his stunts.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Partially doing his own stunts?

AKIKO FUJITA: He's still doing his stunts.

BRIAN CHEUNG: But he's the now-- he's the titleholder for a Memorial Day weekend open.

AKIKO FUJITA: I mean, there's a few things to draw from this. "Top Gun," in some ways, kind of-- we were talking about this on Friday that it sort of brings both, or maybe multiple, generations together. You've got-- you were saying your parents' generation, who remember watching this movie--

BRIAN CHEUNG: They went on a date, I think, to see the OG.

AKIKO FUJITA: --when it first came out. And then you've got younger actors like Miles Teller who are on the movie to bring in a younger demographic too, and that's a winning combination, at least it was in this first weekend. Fun fact, though, this movie was set to be released in July of 2019.

BRIAN CHEUNG: That's right.

AKIKO FUJITA: They delayed it. And then the pandemic hit. And then they-- you know, it's one of those movies where they insisted it be shown in the theaters. And I think that raises-- that points to what that theater experience is going to look like at a time when so many are asking, are people are going to return to the theaters? It's this kind of movie that draws people in, right? Or superhero movies. But not necessarily maybe some of the other films that you don't necessarily need to see in a theater.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah. You do wonder about kind of the headlines that we were talking about as the kind of reopening started to happen, about studios actually holding onto their releases. I think it was-- was it "Black Widow" that was the big kind of, like, opening movie that people could see for the first time since the pandemic? You wonder if "Top Gun" could have been released that early, a year ago or something like that, and that the studio maybe, perhaps, decided to hold on to it now as a strategy to really capitalize off of it.

I mean, to be fair, maybe it's just part of the timing of it. Because I think the original movie also came out around May in 1986.

AKIKO FUJITA: It feels like a summer movie, right?

BRIAN CHEUNG: It feels like a summer movie, so, I mean, maybe that was part of the timing.

AKIKO FUJITA: And also, Memorial Day weekend. I mean, that's sort of the perfect release for a movie about the Navy.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Exactly, yeah. I mean, I think that also just the nostalgia factor of it, right? Culturally speaking, it feels like a lot of people are really into baggy jeans again, light-wash jeans, right? Kind of like band T-shirts.

AKIKO FUJITA: The full cycle.

BRIAN CHEUNG: And inflation, right? I mean, inflation was in vogue in the '80s too, right? So you got that. Baggy jeans, inflation, "Top Gun."

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, and by the way, this movie almost wasn't made. And there's an interesting bit here, back story, about how the director had just 30 minutes to convince--

BRIAN CHEUNG: You really read up on this.

AKIKO FUJITA: --Tom Cruise. Yes, I did read up on it. 30 minutes to sit down with Tom Cruise to convince him or else the movie wouldn't have been made. Can you imagine the pressure? You're flying in. You're meeting with a superstar. You've got 30 minutes to convince this guy to make a movie before all the actors can come on board.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah. And the guy-- I don't know. Maybe he jumped on a couch, or something like that, during all of that. But yeah. I mean, we just showed the AMC stock. I mean, probably in part due to the big release that they had. But that stock jumping as well. For what it's worth, yeah, my parents apparently saw "Top Gun" on one of their dates.

AKIKO FUJITA: I heard that, yeah.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Which I think might be a subtle suggestion to me, like, Brian, like--

AKIKO FUJITA: Maybe you should take--

BRIAN CHEUNG: The new "Top Gun" is out. You should go take a girl to go see "Top Gun."

AKIKO FUJITA: I don't know if that's all going to work out, right? The same format, maybe not.

BRIAN CHEUNG: I don't think so either.

AKIKO FUJITA: But that's a great story.

BRIAN CHEUNG: It is. It's very cute. It is very cute.

AKIKO FUJITA: And have they seen the newest "Top Gun?" Have they gone out?

BRIAN CHEUNG: They're going to go next week. They're going to go next week and see it. So Mom and Dad, go enjoy that movie.