Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” was the top grossing film at the U.S. box office this weekend, as the Tom Cruise epic “Top Gun: Maverick” gained a new burst of audience attention.
What Happened: The Warner Bros. WBD release of “Elvis” grossed $31.5 million from 3,906 theaters in its opening weekend. However, Paramount’s PARA “Top Gun: Maverick” secured $30 million from 3,948 theaters for its fifth week in theatrical release. According to a Deadline report, “Top Gun: Maverick” grossed $521.2 million from domestic release and $484.7 million from the global market (excluding China, which has yet to allow the film to be screened), thus pushing the film past the $1 billion market.
Rounding out the top five films in U.S. release were “Jurassic World Dominion” from Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA Universal Pictures, with $26.1 million from 4,233 theaters; “The Black Phone,” also from Universal Pictures, with $23.2 million from 3,150 theaters in its premiere engagement; and the Walt Disney Co.’s DIS Pixar animated feature “Lightyear,” with roughly $18 million from 4,255 theaters.
What Happens Next: For the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend, the sole major title in nationwide release is the Universal/Illumination animated feature “Minions: The Rise of Gru” with a voice talent cast that includes Steve Carell repeating his Felonious Gru character plus Jean-Claude Van Damme, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews and Dolph Lundgren. (And seriously, folks, when was the last time you saw Julie Andrews and Dolph Lundgren mentioned in the same sentence?)
Other new releases playing in limited release include Roadside Attractions’ Moroccan-lensed drama “The Forgiven” starring Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain; Lionsgate’s (NYSE: LGF-A) cyber-thriller “Hot Seat” starring Mel Gibson and Kevin Dillon; Oscilloscope Laboratories’ import “Clara Sola,” which was Costa Rica’s entry in this year’s Academy Awards competition for Best International Feature Film; and Sony Pictures Classics SONY documentary “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song.”
Also Worth Noting: This month marks the 100th anniversary of the theatrical release of “Nanook of the North,” one of the most important productions in film history.
Robert Flaherty traveled to the Canadian Arctic to create a feature-length film on the indigenous Inuk nation, focusing on the eponymous hunter who faces extraordinary challenges from the harsh environment to feed himself and his family.
While often praised as a seminal work in documentary filmmaking, “Nanook of the North” is not a pure documentary – Flaherty staged several key sequences, most notably the harrowing segment on the construction of the hunter’s igloo ahead of an approaching storm. Also, Nanook was not the real name of the central subject – his real name was Allakariallak – his domestic life was invented for the camera.
Nonetheless, audiences in 1922 were startled by Flaherty’s ability to capture a compelling human drama in the Arctic, and the production became a box office sensation that launched the nonfiction feature film genre. Flaherty would go on to create classic films including “Moana,” “Man of Aran” and “Louisiana Story,” but Allakariallak never fully experienced the film’s triumph – he died from tuberculosis in 1924.
Photo: Austin Butler in “Elvis,” courtesy of Warner Bros.