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Feel the need for speed? The exhilarating flyboy epic Top Gun: Maverick is back in theaters Dec. 2 to 15, including its best possible venue, Imax theaters. “It’s a great movie to see coming out of a pandemic in a theater,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer told AARP. “And to see this in an Imax theater with that big screen and the sound, it’s really breathtaking. Spectacular.”
The hit is a win for star Tom Cruise. At 60, he’s about to have his first billion-dollar hit, with the film likely to bring in $1.5 billion this month and become one of the top 10 most successful films of all time. It’s already Cruise’s biggest achievement, and the only film ever to hit number 1 at the box office on both Memorial Day and Labor Day, ruling the summer. It’s also the number 1 digital release in history.
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And like that other breakout hit Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick proves the clout of grownup moviegoers, who propelled its success. In its opening weekend, which helped save the movie business from disaster by proving people will still flock to a top-notch blockbuster, most viewers — 55 percent — were over 35, about two-fifths were over 45, and one-fifth over 55. Showbiz411 pundit Roger Friedman calls it “a bellwether maybe for older movie patrons returning to theaters.” Their word of mouth helped incite stampedes of younger crowds.
You can still also buy or rent Top Gun: Maverick on digital services like Apple TV and Amazon’s Prime Video, and it streams for free with a Paramount+ subscription starting Dec. 22 (there’s a half-price subscription deal through Jan. 2).
Imax makes it more of a you-are-in-the-pilot’s-seat experience. But at home you get a bonus: 110 minutes’ worth of behind-the-scenes content on the making of the movie, and Cruise talking about his passion for flight while piloting his own World War II-era P-51 Mustang (which in this critic’s opinion is cooler than John Travolta’s Bombardier Challenger 601 jet).
Should you see it in theaters or at home? Audiences seem to be saying either way is great. When Top Gun: Maverick first debuted on home entertainment, instead of movie-house ticket sales going down, they went up. As Bruckheimer said, “Grosses were bigger than the week before even though an audience knows they can see it at home. They want to do both.”