TV & Movies

Jerry Bruckheimer & His Reign Over Memorial Day Box Office With Top Gun 2; Whether Theres A 3rd Pic & Next National Treasure Movie

Jerry Bruckheimer has plenty to celebrate over Memorial Day weekend, literally watching the long-awaited sequel to 1986’s Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverickbeat his previous domestic box office opening record for the holiday previously set by 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. 

The Paramount/Skydance co-production easily won the record Memorial Day opening at the B.O. with $156M (which included previews), unseating Pirates 3‘s $153M opening.

Outside of any delay created by the pandemic, why the world had to wait 36 years for the further adventures of Tom Cruise’s Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Bruckheimer tells Deadline it all boiled down to Joseph Kosinski’s pitch to the superstar during the production of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. 

“This was the time that it was going to happen,” says Bruckheimer about why the sequel arrived now in theaters versus, say one or two decades ago.

“It never really got that close; we never had a script, never had ideas” says the blockbuster producer about the sequel before Kosinski approached it.

“Joe went to Paris where Tom was shooting Mission: Impossible; he had a look book and a poster,” remembers the producer. “He wanted to make sure to do everything right including shooting in the jets with the actors.”

“Tom lit up, and called the head of Paramount and that started the ball rolling,” adds Bruckheimer.

Top Gun 2‘s opening is easily the best for Kosinski, and of course, natch, Cruise; the actor’s previous global record start being The Mummy ($172.3M) and his previous record domestic opening being War of the Worlds with $64.8M.

On the first Top Gun, there was a push to shoot the actors flying in live jets as well, but “their eyes rolled back in their heads; they couldn’t handle the G force” quips the producer. “The only footage was some of Tom.” Given that experience, it’s why Cruise devised a flight program on the sequel whereby the performers were trained to tolerate the G Force in three different aircrafts before manning the F18s.

As far as reaping the success of two Memorial Day weekends, Bruckheimer gives a shoutout to the Viane family: Father Chuck Viane oversaw Disney domestic distribution on At World’s End while son Mark oversees international for Paramount, where Top Gun 2 is reaping $252.7M around the globe. Bruckheimer also tips his hat to Paramount domestic distribution boss Chris Aronson and marketing boss Marc Weinstock. “But it all starts with Tom; he’s the hardest working, most talented actor,” asserts Bruckheimer.

In response to the pic’s overperformance in the flyover states, Bruckheimer reminds, “We make films for all audiences. Top Gun is for everybody; it’s all about the story and the characters and the ride we take them on. I don’t care where you see this movie. You see it with packed audiences; it’s playing all over the world. We have huge numbers in Europe and Asia.”

Top Gun and Pirates take you away from wherever you are in your life,” the producer adds, “watching the movie over the last few nights with an audience, people are really happy walking out of the theater.”

In regards to sequels to other legacy franchises, Bruckheimer says he’s still working on another feature follow-up to National Treasure even though there’s a series in the works at Disney+. He’s also producing the Disney+ movie Young Woman and the Sea starring Daisy Ridley about Trudy Ederle, who in 1926, was the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel. And he’s beginning to focus on the next Beverly Hills Cop Netflix movie starring Eddie Murphy.

And as far as a third Top Gun goes, for now, says Bruckheimer, there’s nothing immediate: “Let’s ride this wave.”

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