Steven Spielberg recently credited Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick for “saving Hollywood’s ass” in a viral video while attending the Academy Awards nominees luncheon. The clip was shared by director Kartiki Gonsalves, whose film, Who Can Say No to Baby Elephants! is nominated for Best Documentary Short Film.
In the footage, Spielberg who is nominated for his movie, The Fabelmans, and Cruise were seen embracing on the red carpet before the latter commented on the six-time nominated action film. “You saved Hollywood’s ass, and, you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg said. “Seriously. Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
How Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ saved the movie industry
Hollywood is one of the industries affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the whole world in 2020 thus making movie theaters struggle financially as most production companies switched to online platforms to showcase their works. Spielberg criticized studios, specifically Warner Bros., for off-loading their film slates to streaming platforms, a move that affected filmmakers negatively.
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“The pandemic created an opportunity for streaming platforms to raise their subscriptions to record-breaking levels,” he said. “And also throw some of my best filmmaker friends under the bus as their movies were unceremoniously not given theatrical releases.”
However, things changed when Tom Cruise decided to invest time and resources into the making of Top Gun: Maverick after director Joseph Kosinski gave him a story he became very interested in. Kosinski revealed that he made the story emotional to get Cruise’s approval.
“I started with the story of this reconciliation with his best friend’s son and put that against this mission that would take them both deep into enemy territory where they’d have to work together to get back home alive. I could see the wheels in his head start to turn,” the director said. “Then I talked about how we were going to shoot it … but I think it was that emotional story that hooked him. He pulled his phone out and greenlit the movie.”
The 60-year-old caught the fever and the production of the movie began in earnest; He pushed for its release to the cinemas despite the pandemic. After a series of release dates that never came through, the movie eventually hit the theaters on May 27, 2022, and it immediately stimulated the movie industry with earnings of over $1 billion worldwide to become the second highest-grossing film behind Avatar: The Way of Water.
The numerous accolades earned by ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
During the production of the movie, Tom Cruise and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer trained the cast members to fly real fighter jets thus making the flight scenes very near to real-life experiences. Top Gun: Maverick also became the 11th highest-grossing movie in global history and also the fifth-highest earner at the domestic box office with $718 million.
Another critical accolade that the film got was the fact that it was included in several top ten best film lists, like the Rotten Tomatoes’ Best 2022 film, and also made the list of the favorite films of former U.S. president Barack Obama coupled with a Best Picture nomination for the 95th Academy Awards.