Nostalgia boosts SA box office as Top Gun: Maverick has moviegoers returning to cinemas in droves

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Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.
Photo: Paramount Pictures
  • Top: Gun Maverick has lifted the South African box office slump.
  • Pulled by the nostalgia of seeing Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, cinemas saw a return of the 35+ crowd following the coronavirus pandemic.
  • "The performance of Top Gun: Maverick has been astounding, and it certainly has given cinema a huge boost," says Stefan Rheeder, United International Pictures marketing manager.


Top Gun: Maverick, the Tom Cruise-led sequel to 1986's Top Gun, has helped to lift the slumped South African box office back up where it belongs. The film's big nostalgia factor has helped to lure back South cinemagoers who've stayed away because of Covid.

South African exhibitors like Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro are once again smiling as the 35+ cinema crowd are venturing back into malls and cinemas to see Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer on the big screen. 

"The performance of Top Gun: Maverick has been astounding, and it certainly has given cinema a huge boost," Stefan Rheeder, United International Pictures (UIP) marketing manager, tells Channel24.

"It feels as if ticketing is ticking over once more, but also that older audiences – when looking at Top: Gun Maverick and even Elvis – are frequenting cinema houses again, and it shows a real sign of confidence; for this out-of-home entertainment experience."

Rheeder says Top Gun: Maverick initially started playing towards "older, nostalgic audiences, but with a strong box office performance, we can now undoubtedly say that it has broken out to younger demographics too".

"For exhibitors, this must be music to their ears, and they definitely want and need big tentpole titles to keep the experience front of mind, but also the business ticking over."


Next, UIP will release Beast on 12 August in South Africa, which Rheeder says proudly boasts a number of South African elements.

"Idris Elba stars in this pulse-pounding new thriller about a father and his two teenage daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator."

"Co-starring in the film alongside Elba is South African actor Sharlto Copley together with Iyana Halley and Leah Sava Jeffries. The film was shot entirely in South Africa, and locations included Cape Town, Limpopo and Northern Province."

The final showdown was filmed in the Northern Cape, on the Namibia border.

READ MORE | Idris Elba must protect his daughters from a massive lion in Beast filmed in SA

UIP also brings Puss in Boots: The Last Wish to South African cinemas. The film is lined up for December when the swashbuckling and fear-defying feline returns to the big screen.

"For the first time in more than a decade, DreamWorks Animation presents a new adventure in the Shrek universe, as daring outlaw Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for peril and disregard for safety have taken their toll," Stefan Rheeder says.

"Puss has burned through eight of his nine lives, though he lost count along the way. Getting those lives back will send Puss in Boots on his grandest quest yet. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish features an all-star comedic cast that includes Academy Award nominee Antonio Banderas who returns as the voice of the notorious Puss in Boots."


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