Hollywood director Steven Spielberg complimented Tom Cruise at Monday’s Academy Awards luncheon, telling him that his film “Top Gun: Maverick” may well have saved Hollywood.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has grossed $1.48 billion worldwide since its release in May 2022. Other films did well in 2022; “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which opened in June, has raked in over $1 billion worldwide; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” took in almost $1 billion since their releases in May and July, respectively. “Avatar: The Way Of Water,” which opened in December, outdid them all, earning over $2.2 billion worldwide.
“You saved Hollywood’s ass, and you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg told Cruise, “Seriously, ’Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
steven spielberg telling tom cruise to his face, “you saved hollywood’s ass. and, you might have saved theatrical distribution. seriously. MAVERICK might have saved the entire theatrical industry.” i have to lie down. pic.twitter.com/nYbWbgadM7
— amanda (@marisatomay) February 14, 2023
Cruise insisted that his film be released in theaters rather than on streaming services, which have burgeoned since the COVID pandemic.
The two men have worked together on two films: “Minority Report” and “War Of The Worlds.”
“Top Gun: Maverick” is nominated for best picture, along with “All Quiet On The Western Front,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Banshees Of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans,” “Tar,” Triangle Of Sadness,” and “Women Talking.”
“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 in December. “They were paid off and the films were suddenly relegated to, in this case, HBO Max. The case I’m talking about. And then everything started to change.”
“I think there has to be a concerted effort on the part of movie directors to demand that the streaming services footing the bill for most of these films give their movies a chance to be exhibited theatrically and not just in four theaters to qualify for awards. It’s going to have to come from all of us — the WGA [the Writers Guild], the DGA [the Directors Guild], and eventually the academy,” he declared.
“Certain movies are perfectly suitable to the iPad or the living room. So the decision that executives and executives like myself at Amblin Partners have to make is: Do we consign this movie to a streaming service or this other movie to a four- or six-week theatrical window? … We don’t want these chains to file Chapter 11. We want theaters to stay open,” he concluded.