ELVIS Edges MAVERICK In Box Office Photo Finish (BOX OFFICE)

MAVERICK nearly topped newcomer ELVIS, but the hot word-of-mouth biopic held on for the weekend’s crown.

Elvis is King of the multiplex.

Going down to the wire, Baz Luhrmann‘s Elvis Presley epic finished ahead of Top Gun: Maverick by the slimmest of margins (just over $1 million) to reign supreme over the last weekend of June. Elvis finished with a total of $31.1 million while Maverick flew in right behind with $29.6 million.

It was an impressive debut for the rock biopic, finishing at the high end of estimates. Fueled by an “A” grade audience CinemaScore, Elvis proved particularly strong for an adult-skewing original that wasn’t a comic book tentpole or franchise sequel. Another obstacle it cleared: a lengthy runtime of 2 hours and 37 minutes. Overcoming those kind of challenges shows just how electric the word of mouth has been.

Maverick‘s showing may have been even more surprising. To take in nearly $30 million in its fifth weekend is virtually unheard of in modern times (even pre-COVID), and to get that close to reclaiming the #1 slot with vigorous competition like Elvis and a still-strong Jurassic World Dominion (which are all competing for the same demographics) speaks to the enduring appeal of Tom Cruise‘s Top Gun legacy sequel.

To date, Maverick has amassed $520.8M domestically and just over $1 billion globally. It stands as the #1 movie of the year so far (surpassing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and only the second film of the pandemic era to cross the billion-dollar mark. (Spider-Man: No Way Home was the first, which finished at $1.9 billion. It could top $2 billion when it receives an extended cut re-release this fall.)

The dinosaurs of Jurassic World Dominion continued to chomp up its share of ticket sales, finishing third in its third weekend with $26.4 million. That tips its domestic total past $300M and its global tally up to $746.6M.

Newcomer horror flick The Black Phone spooked up $23.3 million of its own, marking the first time since 2018 that four movies grossed over $20 million each over the same weekend.

Lightyear came close to being the fifth, but its $18.2M return was a steep 64.1% drop-off from its $51M debut a week ago. That’s the second biggest plunge in Pixar history; the first was Onward in 2020, which plummeted 72.9% — a drop that was precipitated by the first wave of COVID lockdowns.

Lightyear also suffered the fourth-lowest second weekend for any Pixar movie, finishing just ahead of 24-year-old A Bug’s Life ($17.2M in 1998) and two recent, rare Pixar flops The Good Dinosaur ($15.3M in 2015) and Onward ($10.6M in 2020 — again, a COVID casualty).

The Toy Story spinoff has underwhelmed with $88 million domestically in 10 days, a far cry from Pixar’s expectations when they invested $200 million to produce the Buzz Lightyear adventure (and tens of millions more to market it). At this point, the theatrical run is working more like a glorified ad campaign for Lightyear‘s eventual launch on streamer Disney Plus.

With the animated prequel Minions: The Rise of Gru almost certain to claim the top slot next weekend, the Fourth of July holiday weekend could prove the most lucrative frame yet since the pandemic began.

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