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Steven Spielberg Tells Tom Cruise He ‘Saved Hollywood’s Ass’ with ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Acclaimed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg told Tom Cruise he “saved Hollywood’s ass” with the success of Top Gun: Maverick, adding that he may have saved theatrical distribution altogether.

Spielberg reportedly made the impromptu comment to Cruise during the Academy Awards nominees’ luncheon. Spielberg received a Best Director nomination for The Fablemans while Top Gun: Maverick received a Best Picture nomination. The pair, who both worked with each other on Minority Report and War of the Worlds, were seen embracing on the red carpet ahead of the luncheon.

“You saved Hollywood’s ass, and, you might have saved theatrical distribution,” Spielberg told Cruise, according to the Daily Mail. “Seriously. Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”

Tom Cruise simply smiled and shook his head in disbelief as Spielberg showered him with compliments.

Top Gun: Maverick became a sensation in 2022 after it topped the box office charts for several weeks, garnering favor with both critics and audiences alike. As John Nolte of Breitbart News noted in his review, the movie also stayed clear of woke politics by preserving the character Maverick as a likable protagonist while staying true to the 1980s source material:

Everything that made Maverick one of the most iconic characters of the 80s is still there … and yet it’s not. There’s no air-punching, no cocky grin, no high-fives, no getting into the other guy’s face, none of the physical callbacks you expect. Instead, Cruise internalizes all that. Nevertheless, you still sense that cocky young guy is in there. Now he’s older, seasoned, alone, a little sad about that, and haunted by mistakes. This Pete Mitchell wouldn’t like 1986’s Pete Mitchell, yet Cruise still telegraphs he’s the same guy.

That doesn’t mean Maverick’s been cheapened, which is something that happens too often (and deliberately for political reasons) in these reboots. The easy (and woke) route would’ve been to tear this icon down (especially an 80’s icon) in the same way those dreadful Star Wars sequels tore apart Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. You know what I mean: Maverick’s an aging, embittered drunk living in a trailer, getting into fights, ignoring his teenage daugh— Stop. Just the thought of it’s pissing me off.

The success of Top Gun: Maverick also came after Paramount Pictures chose to hold the film for nearly two years due to the pandemic so that it could have a theatrical release while other titles (such as Greyhound with Tom Hanks or the entire Warner Bros. slate) opted for streaming.

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