The King is No. 1 at the domestic box office.
Over the weekend, “Elvis” and “Top Gun: Maverick” were duking it out as the King of Rock and Roll took the No. 1 spot on Friday and dropped to second place on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the films tied for first place in North America, with each earning an estimated $30.5 million over the three day period.
With the final results tallied on Monday, “Elvis” generated $31.1 million from 3,906 theaters in its box office debut while “Top Gun: Maverick” brought in $29.6 million from 3,948 venues in its fifth weekend in theaters.
Although “Elvis” ultimately took the box office crown, both films can boast a strong result. For “Elvis,” a $31 million debut is promising for an adult-skewing drama since its core demographic does not traditionally rush out to see a movie on opening weekend. However, Warner Bros. spent $85 million to produce the film, not accounting for marketing or distribution costs, so “Elvis” has to keep playing in theaters throughout the summer to turn a profit.
It’ll help that “Elvis,” a larger-than-life musical biopic starring Austin Butler, has been well-received by audiences, who awarded the film an “A-” CinemaScore. Baz Luhrmann directed the film, which chronicles the performer’s meteoric rise to fame through the eyes of his morally ambiguous manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).
For “Maverick,” a second-place finish at this point in its theatrical run is an unmitigated win — and a testament to the film’s unprecedented staying power at the box office. It’s almost unheard of for a movie to generate those kinds of ticket sales after playing in theaters for more than a month. To date, the Paramount Pictures movie has grossed $520.8 million at the domestic box office and stands as the highest-grossing movie of the year in North America.
“Top Gun: Maverick” still had plenty to celebrate over the weekend, crossing the billion-dollar mark after only 31 days on the big screen. With global revenues currently at $1.006 billion, it ranks as Tom Cruise’s first movie to surpass $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Notably, it’s the first movie of the year and only the second in COVID times (following Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with $1.9 billion) to fly past the coveted milestone.
Overall, this weekend at the box office finally has movie theater owners feeling optimistic. That’s because, in a first for COVID times, four movies — Elvis” and a fellow newcomer, Universal’s Blumhouse thriller “The Black Phone” ($23.3 million), as well as holdovers “Maverick” and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” ($26.4 million) — each grossed $20 million or more over the weekend. And a fifth, Disney’s Pixar film “Lightyear,” came close with $17 million.