Top Gun: Maverick just proved that two-year delays aren't always for the worse.
Tom Cruise's nostalgia blast of a sequel was scheduled to come out in 2020 before multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, among other events, forced the film to come out on May 24. But, even if the audience had to wait two more years (on top of a 30ish-year wait), the moviegoers proved just how powerful nostalgia can be.
According to Paramount Pictures, Maverick's box office numbers are at over $124 million for the weekend and $151 million if you include the holiday, displacing 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End for the highest four-day Memorial Day debut. More importantly, this is Cruise's biggest opening ever. Previously, Cruise's biggest openings are 2005's War of the Worlds ($64.9 million) and 2018's Mission Impossible: Fallout ($61.2 million).
All things considered, Maverick has posted nearly $250 million worldwide, blowing past any and all expectations. This helps validate Paramount's decision to stick to a theater-exclusive release for the film despite numerous delays. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Maverick is the kind of film that's well worth watching.
Maverick is an evolution of the recent trend of reviving classic movies and bringing back the legacy characters while introducing a new generation of characters. But, unlike, for example, Jurassic World Dominion, Maverick is a true sequel. Top Gun 2 features no passing of the torch of sorts. Cruise returns to prove that there's no pilot you can trust more than Maverick in the cockpit.
Ultimately, the credit should go to the marketing team for the Top Gun sequel. The initial trailer as well as that featurette showing Cruise plus the rest of the film's cast undergoing Navy-led flight training all culminated in overwhelmingly positive first reactions that led to its current success.
All that's left is to find out just how big Maverick can get.
While it's highly unlikely that Maverick can catch up to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($873.4 million), The Batman ($768.5 million) is well within range, especially as word of mouth spreads on just how good the sequel is.