In a rare box office dance-off, Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis — starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll — and Top Gun: Maverick tied for the weekend crown with an estimated $30.5 million each. The race won’t be declared until Monday morning when final grosses are tallied.
Top Gun: Maverick is doing formidable business in its fifth weekend as it jumps the $1 billion mark globally. The movie fell a scant 32 percent domestically thanks to being rereleased in select Imax and other premium large-format screens.
Elvis, from Warner Bros., has older moviegoers to thank for opening ahead of expectations: 56 percent of the audience so far is over the age of 35, including a whopping 29 percent over 55. Luhrmann’s frenetic Elvis Presley biopic skewed female (57 percent) and, not surprisingly, played best in the South. Audiences bestowed it with an A- CinemaScore, and a 94 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score is lower, at 79 percent).
“It is an extraordinary accomplishment to get to this level of business, and see older moviegoers return to theaters,” says Warner’s domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, whose studio has been rocked by a leadership change in recent weeks as new boss Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav hired Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy to run the movie studio as motion picture chairman Toby Emmerich steps down.
Overseas, the biopic took in $20 million from its first 52 markets for a global start of $50.5 million. The U.K. and Australia led with $4.7 million each.
Elvis co-stars Tom Hanks as infamous music manager Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge (The Visit) as Priscilla Presley.
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Elvis would open in the $25 million range domestically, considering that adult dramas are a challenged genre in the pandemic era. Also, the marquee is the most crowded it has been since COVID-19 struck among holdovers such as Top Gun 2, Jurassic World Dominion, Lightyear and new horror entry The Black Phone.
June 24-26 marked the first non-holiday weekend in five years when four titles earned $20 million or more, and the first time that happened in four years for any weekend. And overall revenue was down only 10 percent from 2019, when Toy Story 4 alone debuted to $118 million.
Top Gun 2, which earlier this week crossed the $900 million mark globally, achieved yet another milestone on Friday when it became only the second Hollywood release of the pandemic era to fly past $500 million domestically. (Last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $804.7 million in North America.) The Paramount and Skydance movie finished Sunday with a domestic total of $521.7 million. Internationally, it won the weekend with $44.5 million from 65 markets for a foreign tally of $484.7 million.
Universal and Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion also continued to please in its third weekend as it approaches $750 million in worldwide ticket sales. The dino pic came in third domestically with $26.4 million to clear the $300 million mark in North America with a total through Sunday of $302.8 million.
Internationally, Jurassic World 3 grossed another $43 million from 72 markets for a foreign cume of $443.9 million and $746.7 million globally. That includes a hearty $114 million from China.
Like Elvis, Blumhouse and Universal’s The Black Phone also did better than expected in its domestic debut. The pic, fueled by moviegoers between ages 18 and 34, placed fourth domestically with an estimated $23.4 million opening.
Directed by Scott Derrickson, The Black Phone boasts an 87 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a B+ from audiences. The pic stars Mason Thames as a boy who receives supernatural help in his attempts to escape a serial killer played by Ethan Hawke. Overseas, it earned $12.4 million from 45 markets for a global start of $35.9 million.
One bummer is Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, which fell 65 percent to $17.7 million in its second outing after opening to a subdued $51 million a week ago. That’s an unprecedented decline for a Pixar movie (that excludes Onward, which opened just as theaters began closing because of the pandemic and fell off 72 percent).
Lightyear’s 10-day domestic total is $88.8 million. Overseas, the Toy Story spinoff grossed $19.3 million from 43 markets for a foreign tally of $63.6 million and $152.4 million globally.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.