But I’m not just reporting on a pop culture event- this actually does relate to the box office. You see, Tom Cruise used to be the biggest box office star alive (now that title belongs to Will Smith
), but in the last two years, he has committed career suicide. Whether jumping on Oprah’s couch, professing his love for his Stepford wife, Katie Holmes, lashing out at Matt Lauer about prescription drugs, or raving about Scientology like some kind of lunatic, Tom Cruise has taken every precaution to make sure that he’s totally unlikable, and his career is suffering big time. Take a look at what I mean:
After his breakout debut in Risky Business in 1983, audiences were hungry for more of this charismatic, up-and-coming actor, and Tom Cruise saw some tremendous box office successes in the years to come and carved out his place on the A-list. Here are a few examples:
1996 Top Gun – $176 million
1988 Rain Man – $172 million
1992 A Few Good Men – $141 million
1993 The Firm – $158 million
1994 Interview With The Vampire – $105 million
1996 Mission Impossible – $180 million
1996 Jerry Maguire – $153 million
Tom took a break for a few years, but returned with two films in 1999 in search of some critical acclaim. The results were pretty good. Eyes Wide Shut did quite well for such a controversial and risque film, earning $55 million, while Magnolia earned a modest, but strong $22 million. Cruise even got himself a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in 2000. Now that he’d again proved his acting chops, his next step was to conquer the box office once and for all…
The next seven films Tom Cruise released were massive hits. Mission: Impossible 2 kicked off the new millennium in a big way with a massive $215 million gross. Each of his following films broke $100 million dollars, and they solidified him as the single most famous, bankable (highest paid) star in the business. His consistency was simply unmatched.
2000 Mission: Impossible 2 – $215 million
2001 Vanilla Sky – $100 million
2002 Minority Report – $132 million
2003 The Last Samuari – $111 million
2004 Collateral – $100 million
2005 The War of the Worlds – $234 million
Unfortunately, in 2005, Tom did a lot more than just release a movie. He had his whole couch-jumping incident with Oprah, then he fell madly (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mad…) in love with Katie Holmes, then he lashed out at Matt Lauer about prescription drugs, and now he has embarked on a crusade for Scientology. In just two years, his public image has been almost entirely destroyed, and this is reflected in the box office of his latest two films.
Mission: Impossible 3, despite pulling in the best reviews of the franchise, struggled at the box office. It earned just $133 million, which represents a massive 38% slide from M:I2‘s $215 million gross. Sure, M:I3 made over $100 million dollars, but this drop was not a good sign. Long-time partner Paramount quickly dropped Cruise from their studio’s payroll. In 2007, Tom came out with Lions for Lambs, and what do you know? It bombed. The United Artists (Cruise’s own studio) wide release couldn’t even hit $15 million.
I have little hope for Tom Cruise saving his career. Based on the above video, he just seems to keep getting crazier by the day. United Artists’ next release is Valkyrie, which was recently pushed back from its summer release date to October 2008. I’m highly doubting that it will be successful, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Bring the old Tom Cruise back!”