‘Elvis’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Slug It Out For The Spot With $30.5 Million Each; ‘The Black Phone’ Also Scares Up Strong Numbers
Looking at this weekend’s box-office returns you may very well be wondering what year it is as Tom Cruise slugged it out with Tom Hanks for bragging rights over who has the top-grossing movie in North America. As Sunday’s receipts were still being tallied, it appeared as if the the two A-list veterans were locked in a virtual dead heat, with each of their latest films pulling in $30.5 million each. If a clear victor is not established by Monday, this one may come down to hanging chads and mail-in votes, folks. However, as it stands right now, it’s Cruise’s five-week-old blockbuster, Top Gun: Maverick, that looks to have the slight edge (by mere decimal points) over Hanks’ new razzle-dazzle biopic, Elvis. Meanwhile, Universal’s latest Blumhouse-produced chiller, The Black Phone, debuted in fourth place with a strong $23.4 million bow.

Although it finished in third place just last weekend, Top Gun: Maverick once again proved to be surprisingly resilient in its fifth week in multiplexes, dropping just -31.7% from the prior session and boomeranging back into first place. By all accounts, the Paramount blockbuster earned a hair more than Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley fantasia with $30,500,176 to Elvis’ $30,500,000. Box-office races don’t come tighter than that. Unspooling in 3,948 theaters, Cruise’s PG-13-rated sequel to his 1986 flyboy hit earned a $7,725 per-screen average, putting its current domestic haul at a whopping $521.7 million. Overseas, Top Gun 2 has raked in $484.7 million to date, putting its cumulative worldwide gross at $1.01 billion, making it the first 2022 movie to soar past the billion-dollar mark and just the second to break that barrier in the COVID era, after Spider-Man: No Way Home, which pulled in $1.9 billion—and that’s without playing in China or Russia. As icing on the cake, Cruise’s latest tentpole also zipped past Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness this week to become the year’s top-grossing film globally. When it’s all said and done, Maverick will be the biggest global moneymaker of Cruise’s long career by far—with 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout as the next in line with $791.7 million.

As previously mentioned, Warner Bros.’ Elvis swiveled its hip into second place with $30.5 million even—a strong debut despite the photo-finish. The PG-13-rated musical biopic of the King of Rock 'N Roll fared well with critics (who gave it a 78% fresh rating Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (who handed it an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore grade). Starring Austin Butler as Presley and Hanks as his Svengali manager Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis earned a $7,808 per-screen average at 3,906 locations. That haul was especially impressive considering that the film appealed to an older demographic that has been less inclined to return to movie theaters during the pandemic. Overseas, Elvis stacked up $20 million in ticket sales, putting its first-week worldwide cume at $50.5 million.

Bumped down to the third spot was last weekend’s champ,Jurassic World Dominion, with $26.4 million. Although the latest Jurassic chapter was panned by critics, who dinged the PG-13 action-adventure with a lowly 30% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences are still turning out. The third and final film in the Jurassic World trilogy, which stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as well as the original trilogy’s trio of Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern, slipped -55.3% from the previous frame, scoring a $6,246 per-screen average in 4,233 theaters. After three weeks, the Universal title has made $302.8 million domestically. Overseas, where Dominion opened a week earlier, it has now pulled in $443.9 million, putting its new global cume at $746.7 million.

Entering the charts in fourth place was Universal’s latest Blumhouse horror flick, The Black Phone, with $23.4 million. The R-rated chiller, which stars Ethan Hawke as a serial killer in a deeply unsettling mask, had a bloody good $7,419 per-screen average at 3,150 locations. Thanks to solid reviews (an 84% fresh rating) and positive word of mouth (a ‘B+’ CinemaScore grade), the film also did well abroad, where it pulled in $12.5 million in its first session, bringing its first-week worldwide total to $35.8 million. Not bad for a film that cost just $18 million to produce.

Rounding out the top five was Disney and Pixar’sLightyear with $17.7 million. In its second weekend in theaters, the PG-rated Toy Story spin-off that features the voice of Chris Evans dropped a steep -65.1% from the previous frame. Playing in 4,255 theaters, the computer-animated Lightyear earned a $4,152 per-screen average, bringing its two-week domestic total to $88.8 million—a disappointment by Pixar standards. Internationally, the film has racked up $63.6 million to date, putting its worldwide cume at $152.4 million.

Bubbling beneath the top five were two other debuts of note: the Hindi-language marital comedy Jug Jugg Jeeyo bowed in seventh place with $725,000 in 318 theaters, while A24’s indie Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, about a plucky shell with a single googly eye and the voice of Jenny Slate, charmed its way into twelfth place with $169,606 in just 6 theaters for a supersized $28,267 per-screen average.