As part of Netflix’s shareholder call yesterday, in which they announced that they had “only” lost 972,000 subscribers in the previous quarter, they launched a graph showing conversations on Twitter for major Memorial Day weekend entertainment properties. Simply put, social media content related to stranger things was near the top of the chart, Obi Wan Kenobi was in the middle and Top Gun: Maverick was near the bottom. However, as we constantly need to relearn, Twitter’s speech is not the real world and does not represent the interests of the general public, not when its YouTubers complain about “M-She-U”, not when its Film Twitter denounces Bohemian Rhapsody and not when, well, almost everything came out at Zack Snyder Justice League. In a related note, Obi Wan Kenobi earned zero dollars in revenue, just like stranger things season four, while Top Gun: Maverick just surpassed $623 million in North America alone, past Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Avengers.
That puts the $170 million legacy sequel from Paramount and Skydance in ninth place on the all-time national earning list and (assuming a continued 50/50 split as of Sunday) around $1.25 billion. in the world, past Fate of the Furious ($1.236 billion) and Incredibles 2 ($1.242 billion) and just behind The beauty and the Beast ($1.273 billion including a 2020 re-release) for 19th place. It’s already the sequel to the highest-grossing “second part” by gross domestic revenue and the third-highest-grossing in the world behind Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.405 billion) and Frozen II ($1.45 billion). The audience who watched Top Gun 2 in a theater are likely to not A) spend a lot of time on social media and B) tweet breathlessly about their entertainment habits. Oh, and while many will live-tweet their favorite TV show, I imagine very few people will live-tweet at a theatrical screening of Top Gun: Maverick. These audiences aren’t trendy, but they’ve spent.
At this rate, they will continue to spend. With just No, DC League of Super-Pets and High-speed train over the next three weeks and nothing else until mid-September (Woman king, don’t worry darling, a reissue of Avatar), we could see the Tom Cruise/Jennifer Connelly/Miles Teller/Glen Powell action drama return to IMAX (and possibly the associated PLF auditoriums) in mid-August or Labor Day. At this point, we could see a national total greater than jurassic world ($652 million in 2015), Titanic ($659 million including the 2012 3D re-release) and maybe Avengers: Infinity War ($679 million in 2018) to rank sixth on the all-time list. I guess Black PantherThe $700 million finish is a bridge too far, both for Top Gun: Maverick and (for what it’s worth) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever when it opens in November. If it reaches seventh place, it will be the third highest non-Disney grosser ever behind Sony. Spider-Man: No Coming Home and the fox Avatar.
It doesn’t mean “theaters > streaming,” although in terms of gross revenue, there’s a reason why Hollywood didn’t just leave theaters 15 years ago when streaming technology and VOD has become normalized. However, Paramount is going to be making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from movie theater revenue and associated post-theatre streams (including, I’d bet, massive DVD/Blu-ray sales), all tied to the theatrical bottom line. breathtaking. In addition, stranger things season four became Netflix’s first English-language show to earn over a billion hours while Obi Wan pulled a solid following from Disney+ at the same time as Top Gun: Maverickthe record-breaking theatrical run. All three high-profile elements arguably attracted viewership and/or best-screenplay revenue simultaneously. As I (and others) have been saying for two years, streaming and cinemas can co-exist if they are allowed to. Otherwise, it won’t be an outright winner but (if theaters collapse and streamers become addicted to in-house content) mutually assured destruction.