Thursday, June 10, 2010

Knight and Day moves two days early. Why Tom Cruise is, for the moment, still a movie star and a box office draw.

Long story short - Knight and Day, Fox's action-comedy directed by James Mangold and starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, is set to open two days earlier than intended. Instead of directly facing off against Grown Ups (which stars Adam Sandler and every major star who has ever been in an Adam Sandler picture), the somewhat well-buzzed project will now open on Wednesday, June 23rd. Long reason short - Adam Sandler comedies generally open to about $35-40 million, and the track records of Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise means that the action picture probably won't win the weekend. Besides, the move gives it two more days before the 1,600 pound gorilla known as Twilight Saga: Eclipse takes its best shot at The Dark Knight's $203 million five-day record (the five-day opening weekend record-holder is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, with $200 million). As far as how well Knight and Day will open, you can bet that the tabloids are itching to tear Cruise apart when the film doesn't open to blockbuster levels. But guess what? It probably won't.

Like Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise made his name as Hollywood's biggest and most consistent star when a $15 million opening weekend was very good, a $25 million weekend was fantastic, and a $100 million total was an unqualified smash hit. Cruise has had six opening weekends above $25 million. They are Minority Report ($35 million), Interview with the Vampire ($36 million), Mission: Impossible ($45 million), Mission: Impossible III ($47 million), Mission: Impossible II ($57 million), and War of the Worlds ($64 million). The next highest are four films (The Last Samurai, Collateral, The Firm, and Vanilla Sky) that have opened around $24-25 million. Of the six biggest opening weekends, two of them were Steven Spielberg sci-fi action pictures, three of them were Mission: Impossible films, and one of them was a controversial adaptation of a beloved novel. So you take away the pre-established properties and Cruise's biggest original-material openings are Minority Report and Collateral, which opened about $10 million apart from each other. Oh, and two of those openings (War of the Worlds and Mission: Impossible III) occurred in the heat of Cruise's couch-jumping public-relations meltdown.

Since said meltdown, all he has made is a Robert Redford prestige picture that understandably tanked (it's a thoughtful movie, but Lions for Lambs is custom-made for home viewing) and Valkyrie, an allegedly troubled historical thriller that got generally good reviews, opening to $21 million over Christmas 2008 and still managed to gross $83 million in the US and $200 million worldwide (at 15 on the list, it's Cruise's highest-grossing starring vehicle not to cross $100 million). Only Tom Hanks has more $100 million domestic grossers, with 16 so far (with a seventeenth on the way in eight days). And in this age of quick-kill blockbusters, Tom Cruise has only had two films open to $20 million+ that failed to reach $100 million, the above-mentioned Valkyrie and the Stanley Kubrick art-film, Eyes Wide Shut ($21 million/$55 million). Point being, Tom Cruise may have lost some luster for a lot of people, but he still has a reputation as a hard working actor who generally stars in good movies with talented filmmakers that open well, have legs, and end up making money. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a movie star.

Scott Mendelson

PS - Take away Shrek films and Charlie's Angels pictures (six massive openings that she does deserve partial credit for), and Cameron Diaz's biggest star-vehicle opening in a live-action original property is $20 million for What Happens in Vegas. Her next biggest opening weekend is There's Something About Mary, with $13 million. Point being, she may be a 'star', but like most famous actors, she has limits as a pure box office draw.


Travis D'arby said...

I base my movie-going choices more on reviews than trailers but the new one for "Knight and Day" has definitely got me intrigued. "Grown Ups" on the other hand has perhaps the worst trailer I've ever seen. Peeing in the pool and chocolate wasted are the two highlights of your movie? Perhaps if I had kids this one would be funnier . . .

Any chance we could get some trailer reviews from you like back in the Kick-Ass days?

Here is a link to Knight and Day:

Business Directory said...

Good movie, Full of action and thrill. One of the best tom cruise movie which I ever seen. You must see that movie at this weekend. Thanks for providing review of this movie and trailer.

UK Business Directory


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