When studio execs told Tom Cruise they were thinking of dumping Top Gun: Maverick on a streaming service, he put his foot down. He was adamant that they wait for the pandemic to cool down, to release it when the masses finally felt safe sitting in theaters packed with strangers. You know how that worked out. Now it’s working out for another, very different movie.
As per Variety, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the last of the big holdouts from the early days of the pandemic to belatedly hit theaters. In another timeline, it would have been released in the summer of 2020. Instead, Universal waited two whole years, and now look what’s happened: It’s shattering July 4 weekend records, is on track to open to a whopping $127.9 million. For perspective, Top Gun: Maverick grossed $126 million in only its first three days of release (and $160.5 million over its four days).
The previous record holder for Independence Day weekend was Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opened to $115.9 million in 2011. It’s also bigger than the opening weekend for its predecessor, Minions, which grossed $115 million in 2015.
There was fear, as the pandemic kept theaters under-utilized for over a year, that the moviegoing experience may be over, that the future was people sitting on the couches at home, watching films on streamers. That seems to no longer be the case, and few are happier about it than Tom Cruise himself.
To all the films in release, to all the studios, and to all the exhibitors: congratulations. To the audience: thank you for venturing out and allowing us to entertain you.
See you at the movies.
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) June 27, 2022