‘Elvis,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ in dead heat to top weekend box office

Nearly 45 years after his death, the King of Rock ‘n Roll sits poised to dethrone the box office No. 1, but the figures are not yet final.

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By Sunday afternoon, “Elvis” and “Top Gun: Maverick” were in a dead heat for the top spot with $30.5 million each, with the Elvis Presley biopic making its debut as “Maverick” entered its fifth week in theaters and joined the billion-dollar club at the global box office.

According to Deadline, data compiled by box office analytics firm EntTelligence gives “Maverick” the edge with 2.5 million admissions, compared with Elvis’ 2.4 million admissions, but industry average weekend estimates projected “Elvis” to rake in $30.1 million to “Maverick’s” $29.96 million.

Meanwhile, two other films, newcomer “The Black Phone” and “Jurassic World Dominion,” have each grossed at least $20 million, followed closely by “Lightyear” with nearly $18 million, Variety reported.

Final figures incorporating Sunday’s grosses will be released Monday.

“It’s beyond encouraging,” Universal’s president of domestic distribution Jim Orr told the entertainment news outlet, adding, “It’s a great sign that people really want to be back in theaters.”

Opening weekend expectations for “Elvis,” which stars newcomer Austin Butler as Presley, hovered closer to $25 million. While final figures are expected to help the Baz Luhrmann-directed flick surpass an opening tally of nearly $26 million for “Rocketman,” the 2019 biopic celebrating singer Elton John, “Elvis” will come nowhere near Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which debuted with slightly more than $51 million in 2018.

“I’m less concerned with who’s number one and who’s number two, and I’m more concerned that we hit this big number given that this audience has been the slowest to return to movie theaters,” Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros., told The Associated Press.

According to a recent National Research Group study, 88% of moviegoers are “very or somewhat comfortable” going to the movies as COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions have slowly lifted, compared with about 59% one year ago, Variety reported.

The following figures, compiled by Comscore, represent estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters:

1. (Tie) “Elvis,” $30.5 million.

1. (Tie) “Top Gun: Maverick,” $30.5 million.

3. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $26.4 million.

4. “Black Phone,” $23.4 million.

5. “Lightyear,” $17.7 million.

6. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $1.7 million.

7. “Jugjugg Jeeyo,” $725,000.

8. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” $533,000.

9. “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” $513,000.

10. “The Bad Guys,” $440,000.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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