Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis — starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll — is dancing to a better-than-expected $30 million to $32 million opening at the domestic box office after topping Friday’s chart with $12.7 million, including $3.5 million in previews.
That could be enough to win the weekend ahead of Top Gun: Maverickwhich is doing formidable business in its fifth weekend, thanks to being rereleased in Imax and other premium screens.
Elvis, from Warner Bros., has older moviegoers to thank: 65 percent of the audience so far is over the age of 35, including a whopping 30 percent over 55. Naturally, Luhrmann’s frenetic Elvis Presley biopic performed best in the South. Audiences bestowed it with an A- CinemaScore, compared to a 79 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie 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, 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 between holdovers such as Top Gun 2, Jurassic World Dominion, lightyear and new horror entry The Black Phone.
If numbers hold, this will be the first weekend of the pandemic era when four movies gross north of $20 million (and it could be five if lightyear gets to that mark).
like ElvisBlumhouse and Universal’s The Black Phone is also doing better than expected in its domestic debut. The pic, fueled by moviegoers between ages 18 and 34, grossed $10.2 million on Friday for a projected debut of $23.3 million.
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.
for the weekend, black phone is looking at a fourth-place finish.
Top Gun 2, which earlier this week crossed the $900 million mark globally, achieved yet another milestone on Friday when becoming 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.)
Universal and Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion also continues to please in its third weekend as it crosses the $300 million mark domestically and approaches $700 million in worldwide ticket sales. The dino pic is looking at a third-place finish with a projected $26.2 million.
One bummer is Disney and Pixar’s lightyear, which is falling steeply in its second outing after opening to a subdued $51 million a week ago. The animated family film looks to be down 64 percent or more with a weekend gross of $18 million to $20 million, an unprecedented decline for a Pixar movie (that doesn’t include onwardwhich opened just as theaters began closing because of the pandemic).
Numbers will be updated Sunday.