Paramount Now Relies On One Man: Tom Cruise

In a world where there are no more old school movie stars that can guarantee a film money just because they’re in it, Paramount still has Tom Cruise.

Paramount on Friday announced a change to their schedules for 2021-2022.

Namely Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to the 1986 classic has been pushed from July 2nd to November 18th 2021.

Mission: Impossible 7 now as a result bounces from that very date to May 27th 2022.

And the sequel to the 7th entry in the franchise, Mission: Impossible 8 now heads for July 7th 2023.

Notable changes elsewhere include Dungeon & Dragons with an eccentric cast of Hugh Grant, Chris Pine and Rege-Jean Page is scheduled for March 3rd 2023.

Jackass 4 (who would have ever thought we’d see a return for this series in the 2020s?) is bumped to October 22nd 2021.

The Reason Behind Paramount changing its movies’ release dates?

Tom Cruise Elon Musk Space X

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Read more: Tom Cruise Will Stop Doing Mission: Impossible Movies After The Eighth Film In The Franchise

What to make of these dates? Three of the blockbuster releases star Tom Cruise and that is the correlation.

These moves suggest Paramount Pictures is trying to protect their investment with the actor and ensure they maximise box office gross as a result.

Evidently, it also indicates that for the next three years, they have an overreliance on Tom to deliver at the box office and deliver big on returns.

Is Tom Cruise the last true box office star?

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Credit: Paramount Pictures

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Cruise is one of perhaps the last genuine box office star in Hollywood today. If we were comparing to sports teams, he’d be ‘The Franchise Player’.

No other Actor arguably has a history of delivering a range of box office hits in such a wide variety of films, from a film like Rain Man to Jerry Maguire.

We often see articles noting the box office performance of films starring Scarlett Johannsson, Zoe Salanda and Samuel L Jackson, with the latter, having a lifetime gross of $27 billion worldwide.

But disputably these actors are part of huge ensemble franchises and not necessarily the lead performers that sell tickets.

Even with Mission: Impossible growing into an ensemble cast since MI3, Tom Cruise is still far beyond, the lead draw to the franchise and ticket sales.

We’ll go into numbers below, but you can see why Paramount wishes to move their star performer into better dates.

Paramount feels the need, the need for Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise back as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick

Credit: Paramount Pictures

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As it stood last week, Top Gun: Maverick which is a hotly anticipated sequel for decades was due to compete against Black Widow which you wouldn’t really want to do.

Ideally, for a studio tent pole, you want one to two weekends unopposed for maximum profits.

That and tied in with America and Europe still expected to have reduced audience numbers due to social distancing, returns are still expected to be smaller than average.

November fits brilliantly for the film to really take a crack at a box office that should be returning to normality.

Plus, with James Bond moving to September 2021 from November which we broke the news of here, it makes perfect sense.

And moving both Mission: Impossible entries to summer months almost a year apart, again it’s the usual ‘blockbuster’ season for them to make the largest potential returns.

Outside of the 3 films with Cruise, Paramount only has 3 films that could go either way, Snake Eyes a GI Joe spin-off, without a blockbuster star to guarantee success.

Jackass, and Dungeons and Dragons, they really are relying on Cruise to bag the hits.

Mission: Impossible To Reach $1 Billion?

Paramount Tom Cruise Mission Impossible Fallout

Credit: Paramount Pictures

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Whilst it’s probably fair to expect eventually a Mission: Impossible to break $1 billion in gross, should Cruise fail to deliver on just one of the 3 films slated, it won’t be good news for Paramount who have really backed themselves into a corner.

However, looking at the numbers since 1988, Tom Cruise almost the entire time, has been a bonafide box office superstar.

11 Consecutive Films Above $100m over 11 years.

Mission Impossible Tom Cruise Paramount Pictures

Credit: Paramount Pictures

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From 1988-1999 Cruise set a precedent with 11 consecutive worldwide grosses above $100m in films such as A Few Good Men, Cocktail, Eyes Wide Shut, The Firm.

What makes this more an impressive figure is that many of these films aren’t action orientated.

From 2000-2006 he secured six consecutive domestic grosses above $100m, this time in turns in Collateral, Last Samurai and Vanilla Sky.

Will Smith was his closest rival for the crown at the time from 2003-2008), with 7 domestic hits above $100m consecutively from Bad Boys II, Hitch and Pursuit of Happyness.

Smith also from 2003-2015 had a string of 11 consecutive worldwide box-office gross above $100m+ even with the widely panned After Earth in 2013.

Since 2012, Cruise last eight films have grossed above $135m in total with an average of $381m at the box office.

Mission: Impossible is Paramount’s biggest franchise


Credit: Paramount Pictures

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The last Mission: Impossible took just shy of $800m.

$220m of that total came from North America.

Similarly, Will Smith, himself is also seeing a resurgence with his last four film releases (aided heavily by the $1b+ Aladdin) averaging total grosses of $450m.

So perhaps in actuality, Paramount has made the right move and the right decision.

It also seems as though Cruise is the last of a dying breed.

He’s the last genuine movie star in the old sense of the word.

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