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The 2023 Academy Awards are still months away, which means the nominations are, too. Top Gun: Maverick, the Tom Cruise-starring legacy sequel, achieved several box office milestones once it finally hit theaters. The movie’s astounding $1.4 billion take the box office is more impressive when you consider where it didn’t play. Time will tell how many Oscar nominations the movie receives, but awards season will help add to Top Gun: Maverick’s box office total.

Tom Cruise attends the South Korean premiere of 'Top Gun: Maverick' on June 19, 2022. 'Maverick' could add to its impressive box office total with an awards season re-release.
Tom Cruise attends the South Korean premiere of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is already a massive box office success story

More than 35 years after Top Gun turned Cruise into a bonafide star, Maverick landed in theaters for Memorial Day weekend 2022. Cruise’s superstardom plus a strong cast that included Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and a slew of younger actors such as Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, and Glen Powell helped the movie take off.

Top Gun: Maverick debuted nearly three years after filming wrapped, but it shattered box office records within weeks:

  • It gave Cruise his best opening weekend with $126.7 million in North American ticket sales in three days.
  • Maverick needed a little over a week to become Cruise’s highest-grossing movie in the U.S.
  • The movie broke Titanic’s record to become Paramount’s highest-grossing movie domestically.
  • It became one of the few movies to make $100 million from IMAX ticket sales.

Amazingly, the movie has been outside the top 5 at the daily domestic box office only three times since its debut, per Box Office Mojo. Top Gun: Maverick’s endurance is a reason it’s one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. The box office figures could go even higher when award season rolls around.

Why the Academy Awards can help ‘Maverick’ add to its box office total

The furious pace of new movie releases overshadows the fact that many successful movies — both financially and critically — make their way back into theaters.

Avatar earned nine Oscar nods in 2010. About 18 months after its debut, the James Cameron epic saw a special edition release that brought in $34 million worldwide. A 2021 re-release in China added $57 million to its box office totaL, according to Box Office Mojo.

Dunkirk, the Christopher Nolan film that earned eight Academy Award nominations, saw a North American re-release in December 2017, per Box Office Mojo. That came a few weeks after its initial run left theaters and a few weeks before Oscar nomination time. The second run added nearly $2 million to Dunkirk’s box office haul. 

Top Gun: Maverick already saw its digital release. The 4K and Blu-ray editions will come out at the perfect time. An early December re-release for Maverick could bring in some new box office money and keep it fresh in the minds of Academy Awards voters.

We could also see Maverick return to cinemas after the Oscar nominations or ceremony. Recent movies that earned nods, such as Boyhood and 2022 best picture winner CODA, saw re-releases (albeit limited ones) before the Oscars.

When award season ramps up, there will be ample opportunities for Top Gun: Maverick to cruise back into theaters and add to its already impressive box office numbers. Paramount would be foolish not to make the attempt.

‘Maverick’ could see its fair share of Academy Awards nominations

The Oscar nominations are still months away, but Top Gun: Maverick could dominate there, too.

Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, a two-time nominee and winner for Life of Pi in 2013, could earn a nod for capturing the aerial scenes.

There’s a precedent for Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” to earn a nomination for best original song. Billie Eilish won an Oscar in 2022 for her original song for the James Bond movie No Time to Die, another action movie that had some emotional throughlines like Maverick.


‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Saved the Summer 2022 Movie Season

As Variety points out, film editing and sound Oscars have repeatedly gone to the same movie in recent years. Dune picked up those wins at the 2022 Oscars; Maverick could realistically mimic that film with nominations if not wins. There’s also a case for Maverick’s special effects. No Time to Die and 1917 recently earned nominations for their practical effects.

The more nominations Maverick earns in the technical categories, the better shot it has of earning a best picture nod. If it is up for best picture, a Top Gun: Maverick re-release would help its box office total.

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