How Tom Cruise Defies the Odds: Star Power in the Age of VOD
From the high-octane speed of “Top Gun” to the thrilling spy saga of “Mission: Impossible,” there’s no denying that Tom Cruise’s charisma and dedication to his craft have left a monumental impact on Hollywood’s action genre. Today, as the industry landscape evolves and franchises take the spotlight, Cruise stands out as an anomaly – the last true action star of Hollywood.
Cruise’s dominance in the industry is not a product of the overnight success that typifies many Hollywood stories but a testament to his relentless dedication to his craft and an unyielding commitment to entertaining audiences. With each high-risk stunt he performs, Cruise pushes the boundaries of what an actor can and should do, often placing himself in perilous situations to deliver an authentic on-screen experience. This unprecedented commitment to action sequences sets him apart from his contemporaries who, although equally talented, rely on the support of stunt professionals and CGI to execute risky scenes.
Indeed, Cruise’s star shines brightest in his flagship “Mission: Impossible” series. Unlike many franchises that risk becoming stagnant, each installment of “Mission: Impossible” allows Cruise the freedom to innovate and captivate audiences with his death-defying stunts. Rather than letting the franchise define him, Cruise harnesses it as a tool to showcase his skills, making each new movie a testament to his enduring relevance and appeal.
But it’s not just about the risks and stunts. Cruise’s longevity in the industry also stems from his deep understanding of his audience and ability to deliver exactly what they want. With every role he takes, he finds the perfect balance between maintaining his action-hero persona and diversifying his portfolio to avoid falling into a repetitive pattern. This adaptability has allowed him to keep his star shining brightly even as the industry evolves.
A perfect example of this dynamism is the recently acclaimed “Top Gun: Maverick,” a sequel to the 1986 original. With a gross over $1.48 billion, “Maverick” became the second movie to surpass the billion-dollar mark amid the pandemic. Beyond the impressive figures, it served a far more significant purpose. As acclaimed director, Steven Spielberg stated at the Oscar nominees luncheon, “You [Cruise] saved Hollywood’s ass, and you might have saved theatrical distribution…‘Top Gun: Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.” The film’s success reinvigorated the cinema industry at a time when it was most needed.
Cruise’s influence seems set to continue with the future “Mission: Impossible” films. Despite the changing industry and the increasing focus on franchises and extended cinematic universes, Cruise has managed to maintain his individuality. His strong pull at the box office and his dedication to quality and thrilling action ensure he can push the boundaries of what’s possible without compromising his vision.
With Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms delivering diverse content to our living rooms, the role of the movie star, a lynchpin of the cinema experience, is under threat. One of the key reasons behind this shift is the increasing emphasis on content over star power. The streaming revolution has democratized storytelling, allowing writers, directors, and lesser-known actors to take center stage. Audiences are now drawn to compelling narratives and unique perspectives rather than blockbuster names. In this era of ‘content is king,’ the star-driven formula that dominated Hollywood for decades is losing its hold.
Yet, amidst this transformation, Cruise’s star power has remained unscathed. Whether flying through the air in a high-speed chase or navigating the intricacies of international espionage, Cruise continues to command the screen with an energy and charisma that few can match. His journey serves as a reminder that at the heart of every great movie is a great actor, ready to give his all for the sake of entertainment.
With Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 on the way July 12th (and obviously, Part 2 to follow), Cruise isn’t slowing down. But as the curtains rise for the next act in Cruise’s career, one that we imagine is less involved with action cinema, one thing is clear: Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without Tom Cruise.