Legendary director Steven Spielberg credited Tom Cruise with swooping in and saving Hollywood films during their brief encounter Feb. 13 the 2023 Academy Luncheon.
“Top Gun: Maverick” grossed $1.48 billion worldwide, overcoming several years of severely declining theatrical numbers, according to Fox News. The Hollywood director embraced Cruise on the red carpet and leaned in close to share his opinion of his recent work.
“You saved Hollywood’s ass, and you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg said in an epic video moment that has since gone viral.
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
“Seriously, ‘Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry,” Spielberg continued, according to the video.
Tom Cruise shook his head and appeared to be both shocked and flattered by Spielberg’s comments. “Top Gun: Maverick” snagged six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
The movie features a series of daredevil stunts performed by Cruise, and packed theaters in a way that hadn’t been seen for years, after the venues were deserted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was due largely in part to Cruise’s determination to release the film to theaters and his steadfast refusal to allow streaming services to purchase the film, according to a report from Deadline.
By denying fans streaming access, Cruise effectively managed to push audiences to theaters to experience the movie on the big screen. (RELATED: Awards Show Host Roasts Tom Cruise Over Scientology Connections)
Spielberg previously commented about the impact of the pandemic on the movie industry.
“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,” the director told The New York Times in November 2022.