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'Top Gun' sequel breaks Memorial Day weekend record with $156 million

Cast member Tom Cruise attends for the premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick" at the USS Midway in San Diego on May 4, 2022. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 30 (UPI) -- Tom Cruise's return to the cockpit has set a new box office record for Memorial Day weekend in North America.

Top Gun: Maverick is now the all-time leader for the holiday weekend with $156 million in its first four days of release -- topping the $153 million set by the previous record-holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, in 2007.

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Through Sunday, North American box office receipts for the sequel were at $124 million.

The blockbuster weekend makes Top Gun: Maverick Cruise's biggest box office success. The sequel picks up 36 years after the original as Cruise's character trains a new group of Navy aviators.

The film is playing at 4,732 theaters in North America, which is the largest movie release ever -- and is Cruise's biggest debut, followed by War of the Worlds in 2005.

Top Gun: Maverick is now among the top pandemic-era openings, which is led by last year's Spider-Man: No Way Home with $260 million.

The Top Gun sequel was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but was delayed several times by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"This movie is going to have a huge run. It's going to draw people to theaters who haven't been in a long time," Paramount domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson said according to Variety.

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