Steven Spielberg thinks theaters are soaring, thanks to “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The “Fabelmans” writer-director appears to have told Tom Cruise at the Academy Awards nominees luncheon that the “Top Gun” actor-producer “got the milestone” of the year.
“You saved Hollywood’s ass,” Spielberg says in a clip widely shared on Twitter. “And, you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously. ‘Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.” (You can watch the video below.)
Cruise’s appearance at the annual daytime gathering of the Academy Award nominees was a surprise to most attendees. He’s been largely absent from the awards circuit and so became the center of attention at the event, with nominees like Ke Huy Quan and Angela Bassett stopping him to say hi and take photos.
Cruise and Spielberg have collaborated on two films, “Minority Report” (2002) and “War of the Worlds” (2005).
Cruise’s best Picture nominee “Top Gun: Maverick,” directed by Joseph Kosinski, has grossed $1.48 billion at the global box office since opening last May. The now six-time Oscar-nominated film later became the most-watched movie premiere on Paramount+. Amid the pandemic, Cruise was adamant that “Top Gun: Maverick” premiere in theaters only, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Paramount allegedly turned down offers from streamers to buy “Maverick,” shutting out Netflix and Apple to instead have a theatrical release. “Top Gun: Maverick” remains second only to “Avatar: The Way of Water” for top 2022 releases globally.
Spielberg previously called the Best Picture Oscar nominations for blockbusters “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” an inspiring step for cinema — and specifically theatrical releases. “I’m really encouraged by that,” Spielberg told Deadline.
In an earlier interview, Spielberg told The New York Times that 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.”
He continued that there is “no question” that “big sequels” and Marvel, DC, and Pixar films “still have a place in society,” especially as being theatrical draws among the likes of animated movies and horror films as a whole.
Spielberg is up for Best Director for “The Fabelmans” this year, as well as Best Picture as a producer on the film.
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
Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.