Top Gun: Maverick already grossed more than $500 million: what other sequels did better than the original movie?

Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the only sequel which outperformed its original counterpart at the box office.

Top Gun: Maverick is currently at its fourth week in theatres, having been released on May 27th in the United States, and it has been breaking records ever since, including bigger box office receipts than its original counterpart, 1986’s Top Gun, which is considered a classic of modern cinema.

And as its third week in cinemas begins, Top Gun: Maverick has brought home almost double the total worldwide gross of the original movie, with figures showing the 2022 film generating $557.2 million against $357,469,522 of the 1986 release.

A study conducted by AskGamblers has analysed other famous names which have had at least one sequel and discovered that the latest Top Gun isn’t the only one that has outperformed the original instalments.

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight grossed almost a whopping $1 billion against the $359 million made by Batman Begins, a difference of almost $640 million. Heath Ledger’s outstanding performance as Joker was among the factors of this success – but the Dark Knight franchise didn’t stop there, grossing even more with its third instalment.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers earned $229 million more than The Fellowship of the Ring, just a year after the latter was released, as fans all around the world were eager to know more about Frodo’s adventures.

Another example is Blade Runner: released in 1982, the movie starring Harrison Ford didn’t do exceptionally at the box office, grossing almost $40 million regardless of the generally good reviews the movie received. The 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which added Ryan Gosling to its cast next to Ford, made $219 million more, making it a great example of a sequel which also did the former movie justice.

This, however, is not the rule, as there are many movies whose original instalment did better than their sequel. A couple of examples are The Avengers (2012), which made $119 million more than 2015’s Age of Ultron, and the Harry Potter franchise, as Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone made $965 million, while Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets grossed $875 million.

List of sequels that did better at the box office than their original counterpart
  Original movie Year Worldwide gross ($) Sequel Year Worldwide gross ($) Difference ($)
1 Batman Begins 2005 358.858.124 The Dark Knight 2008 998.615.789 639.757.665
2 Shrek 2001 491.812.794 Shrek 2 2004 935.253.978 443.441.184
3 The Matrix 1999 465.974.198 The Matrix Reloaded 2003 738.576.817 272.602.619
4 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 891.216.824 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2003 1.120.214.046 228.997.222
5 Blade Runner 1982 39.535.837 Blade Runner 2049 2017 258.829.058 219.293.221
6 Top Gun 1986 357.469.522 Top Gun: Maverick* 2022 557.200.000 199.730.478
7 The Hunger Games 2012 677.923.379 Catching Fire 2013 864.868.047 186.944.668
8 Toy Story 1995 365.270.951 Toy Story 2 1999 511.258.276 145.987.325
9 X-Men 2000 296.872.367 X-Men 2 2003 406.348.630 109.476.263
10 Guardians of the Galaxy 2014 770.882.395 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 2017 869.113.101 98.230.706

*the movie is still in theatres.

List of sequels that did worse at the box office than their original counterpart
Original movie Year Worldwide gross ($) Sequel Year Worldwide gross ($) Difference ($)
1 Star Wars Ep IV 1977 775.398.007 Star Wars Ep V 1980 549.001.242 226.396.765
2 The Avengers 2012 1.515.100.211 The Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015 1.395.316.979 119.783.232
3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 2001 965.054.122 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 875.454.054 89.600.068
4 Raider of the Lost Ark 1981 367.452.079 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984 333.080.271 34.371.808
5 Trainspotting 1996 71.548.935 T2: Trainspotting 2017 42.137.612 29.411.323

A spokesperson for AskGamblers commented on the study:

“When a movie becomes a sensation, it is not surprising that studios consider creating a sequel for it – not only to quench the viewer’s thirst for more plot, but also to provide a new, but not always assured, source of income.

“Movies like Top Gun: Maverick have had this power, attracting many fans of the original instalment to the theatre to check out a new adventure of one of Tom Cruise’s most iconic roles, Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. It has been hugely successful, to the point of having even better results than the first time.

“And just like the 2022 Top Gun sequel, there are many others which managed to do the same, as the data demonstrates, such as Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers and The Matrix Reloaded, alongside more family-friendly but nonetheless iconic performances like Shrek 2 and Toy Story 2.”

The research was conducted by AskGamblers.

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