The Quorum

It looks like we may get to see TOP GUN: MAVERICK after all

Wait, so TOP GUN: MAVERICK is actually going to be released? At a certain point, after numerous date changes, we began to think the long-in-works sequel to the 1986 blockbuster was never going to see the light of day. A mirage. A figment of our imagination. 

But, yesterday, when it was announced that MAVERICK will be making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, it began to sink in that we may finally get to see this movie. 

No one would blame you for thinking the MAVERICK would never be released. It was initially supposed to open in July 2019. Now, six date changes later, it is scheduled to open May 27th, nearly three years after its original release date. 

Back in December 2019, Paramount released a trailer as well as two teaser posters. But since then, the entire MAVERICK campaign has come to a complete stop; the two-year-old material seemingly trapped in amber, a relic of the pre-pandemic movie business. 

With the big news about Cannes, it looks like the May 27th date will hold, meaning the film is less than three months away from release. That also means we should be getting some new material in the not-to-distant future. In that light, let’s take a closer look at TOP GUN: MAVERICK.

Memorial Day Historical

This year, MAVERICK will be going head-to-head with THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE on Memorial Day weekend. Let’s start by looking at Memorial Day historicals. 

The early summer long weekend has given us numerous big hits over the years. The chart below shows the film with the largest opening weekend on Memorial Day, dating back to 2000. Grosses peaked between 2006 and 2008, with three films debuting above $100M (light blue). On the low side, we’re talking about a $20-$40M opening. 

Since 2000, the average debut for the top new Memorial Day release has been $69M.

Fourteen of the past 15 Memorial Day films were either sequels or part of well known cinematic universes, with TOMORROWLAND (2015) being the only outlier. Perhaps that’s why it had one of the lowest openings of the group. 

TOP GUN: MAVERICK is, of course, a sequel, though it has a much larger gap between films than all the others on the list. That may keep it from reaching the heights of some of the biggest titles above, but an opening just below the average in the $50M to $70M range seems like a realistic sweet spot. One would expect MAVERICK to match or surpass the $48M opening for A QUIET PLACE II from last year, especially since the overall box office is much healthier than it was a year ago. 

Now that we understand the box office universe in which MAVERICK lives let’s take a look at the numbers. For this analysis, we will compare MAVERICK to GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE. Both are known properties with origins in the 80s. GHOSTBUSTERS opened to $44M last November. 

For MAVERICK to enter into that $50M – $70M range, it will have to outperform GHOSTBUSTERS. 

At 75 days out, MAVERICK has an awareness of 50%. GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE was at 37% awareness at the same distance from release. That’s a clear advantage for MAVERICK. In fact, MAVERICK is close to passing the 55% awareness that GHOSTBUSTERS had at release. 

The two films have nearly identical scores when it comes to interest. At 75 DBR, GHOSTBUSTERS was at 5.9, just a hair above the 5.8 for MAVERICK. 

Based on these numbers, MAVERICK looks quite healthy. Among all films being tracked by The Quorum, it currently ranks 7th in awareness and 14th in interest. And that’s with the campaign having been in neutral for over two years. 

In fact, given how well it stacks up against GHOSTBUSTERS, it’s possible that if MAVERICK opened today, it could be near the low-end of the target $50M – $70M range. With another two months to go, there’s plenty of time for these numbers to go ever higher. 

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