Steven Spielberg was downright emphatic over the success of Top Gun: Maverick during this year’s Oscars luncheon. More specifically, the iconic director had nothing but praise for Tom Cruise who he personally credited with saving Hollywood.
The moment was captured in an elusive online video that’s been making the rounds on Twitter and being just as quickly pulled. In the candid moment, Spielberg can be seen gushing over his Minority Report and War of the Worlds star. Via Variety:
“You saved Hollywood’s ass and you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg said to Cruise in a video originally shared on Instagram by director Kartiki Gonsalves, whose film “Who Can Say No to Baby Elephants!” is nominated for best documentary short film. Cruise was left blushing.
Spielberg added, “Seriously, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
Did Top Gun: Maverick save theatrical distribution? Arguably, yes. Cruise adamantly refused to release the film on streaming during the pandemic, and that gambit paid off as it became the highest grossing domestic release of 2022. However, Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t the only Hollywood success. Marvel delivered a number of hits starting with Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arguably reinvigorated the box office in late 2021, and proceeded to drop huge box office wins with Doctor Strange 2, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. There was also a small little film called Avatar: The Way of Water that may have put up some numbers. Just a few.
That said, after the pandemic put a serious hurt on the theatrical model, every box office win counts. Cruise leveraging his massive star power to stave off a streaming release for Maverick was a much-needed jolt for the industry.