'Top Gun: Maverick' is Tom Cruise's biggest opening weekend ever

Watch: Top Gun: Maverick soars past Tom Cruise box office record with huge opening

Top Gun: Maverick has become Tom Cruise's biggest opening weekend ever, grossing over $260m (£205m) worldwide.

A sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, it is also Cruise's first film to gross more than $100m (£79m) over a single weekend in the US.

Industry experts consider the total particularly impressive considering the film is not playing in either Russia or China, two typically big markets for action films.

Read more: Tom Cruise’s biggest and most daring stunts

Top Gun: Maverick also had the biggest weekend of Cruise's career in the UK where it totalled over £19m to comfortably take number one at the box office.

Three decades after he first played the titular pilot, Tom Cruise is back in the cockpit for this belated sequel, directed by <em>Tron: Legacy</em>'s Joseph Kosinski. Miles Teller plays the son of Maverick's late comrade Goose. (Credit: Paramount)
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick. (Paramount)

The release of the long awaited Top Gun sequel has been delayed nearly three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its original release date was 12 July 2019 but was initially put back due to work being done on the complex aerial sequences.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Tom Cruise attends the Royal Performance of
Tom Cruise attends the Royal Performance of Top Gun: Maverick at Leicester Square. (WireImage)

The release date then shifted to June 2020 before Covid-19 hit and shuttered cinemas with Paramount initially planning on putting the film out that winter.

The film was then pushed back to the following summer and then the winter as Covid infections remained high and blockbusters such as Tenet underperformed in the cinema.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Tom Cruise attends the Royal Performance of
Tom Cruise a the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

Top Gun: Maverick was eventually released last week with Cruise insisting on a full theatrical release following attempts by streaming companies such as Netflix and Apple to purchase distribution rights to the film.

Read more: The tragic life of Top Gun star Kelly McGillis

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who previously directed Cruise in Oblivion, the War of the Worlds star reprises his role as Maverick to teach a group of new recruits how to fly a near impossible mission.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete
Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick. (Paramount Pictures)

Top Gun: Maverick also stars Miles Teller as the son of Goose from the first film, Glen Powell, Jon Hamm and Ed Harris.

Val Kilmer also briefly reprises his role as Iceman. Kilmer has battled throat cancer in recent years and has lost the ability to speak. He recently regained the use of his voice through innovative AI technology.