Speaking to Tom Cruise about the hit film “Top Gun: Maverick” and the effect it had on the movie industry in a recent speech, famed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg said that Cruise and his smash hit of a film “saved Hollywood’s a**.”
That speech came during the 2023 Academy Luncheon. Spielberg, speaking about the film and congratulating Cruise for it, said that the movie had single-handedly saved the industry. That speech quickly went viral on Twitter, watch it here:
Steven Spielberg tells Tom Cruise that “you saved Hollywood’s ass and you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.” pic.twitter.com/nPWR5BqiUV
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) February 14, 2023
As you can hear in the clip, Spielberg said “You saved Hollywood’s a–, and you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously, ’Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
Fox News Digital, adding context to Spielberg’s speech by noting how the Covid pandemic and heavy-handed government response to it hurt the movie industry, reported that:
The movie industry appeared to take a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it offered new opportunities to streaming platforms to attract subscribers. But Cruise was adamant that the film be released in theaters and Paramount Pictures allegedly turned down offers from streamers to buy the film and opted for a theatrical release.
Spielberg had previously commented on the pandemic’s impact on traditional theatrical openings.
“The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record-breaking levels and also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus as their movies were unceremoniously not given theatrical releases,” Spielberg told The New York Times.
That decline for both the movie industry and movie theaters largely continued until “Top Gon: Maverick” wowed audiences and brought crowds back to movie theaters when it was released as a summer of 2022 blockbuster.
“Maverick” was recognized for that in the Oscars too, as it received six nominations thanks in large part to both its popularity and what it did to rescue the movie industry. Reporting on that at the time, Deadline said:
“The film’s emergence as a best picture threat might have seemed an impossible mission, in that a summer movie that grosses nearly $1.5 billion worldwide moves popcorn, not Oscar voters. This Paramount Pictures film has proven to be the exception and one big reason is this: if Tom Cruise didn’t rescue the theatrical box office business following the Covid pandemic, he certainly pulled it out of a nosedive.”
Another positive aspect of the film was that it was not screened in enemy nations like China due to its patriotic theme, so its success came entirely from an American audience, showing Hollywood that patriotic films can still be major hits. Reporting on that, we said:
Further, the surprisingly patriotic film was not shown in Russia or Red China, so its box office success came purely from America and friendly nations, which is rare for a Hollywood which has increasingly leaned toward appeasing Red China to gain access to its large market. In fact, its success with that audience was so large that it is the top-grossing film of Cruise’s career.
So perhaps Maverick not only pulled the movie industry out of a revenue nosedive but also reminded it that patriotic films our enemies hate can succeed.
In winning 6 Oscar nominations, Top Gun: Maverick actually outperformed the original Top Gun film, which received four nominations.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
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