Tom Cruise broke this record with “Top Gun: Maverick”

New York (CNN Business) — “Top Gun: Maverick” reached new heights.

The sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, in which Tom Cruise reprises the famous role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, passed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, according to Paramount.

“Maverick” is the first film in Cruise’s 40-plus-year career to reach the $1 billion milestone, and it’s also the second-highest-grossing film in Paramount’s long history in terms of domestic numbers, only by behind 1997’s “Titanic.”

Plus, “Maverick” has achieved its impressive box office numbers in a very traditional way: It opened to a record high on Memorial Day weekend and hasn’t slowed down much since.

“It’s rare to get the special kind of alchemy that creates a true movie released on a holiday and we’re absolutely amazed at the global response,” said Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures, in a statement.

“Maverick” has been a huge success by word of mouth, and audiences, especially those over 35, have gravitated toward the film. This is notable because this demographic has been somewhat reluctant to return to theaters since the start of the pandemic.

It’s also the second pandemic-era movie to gross $1 billion at the global box office, joining “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” released in December.

“For any movie to join the billion-dollar club is a monumental achievement,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscor, told CNN Business. “But ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ hitting $1 billion during the pandemic is a little different.”

“It was the perfect movie at the perfect time because it starred one of Hollywood’s latest movie stars, in a movie that delivered on all fronts to all audiences around the world,” he added.

Criticism has also been full of praise. The film, in which Maverick returns to teach a new group of pilots how to take on an impossible mission, has a near-perfect 97% score on critics site Rotten Tomatoes.

So far, “Maverick” has grossed more than $520 million in the United States and more than $468 million abroad. It is the 50th film in history to gross over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, not taking into account inflation.

Over the weekend, “Maverick” was No. 2 at the domestic box office in its fifth weekend with $29.6 million. No. 1 was the musical biopic “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, which opened with $31.1 million in the US.

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