The theatrical industry is in shambles. There are really no two ways to say it. Ticket prices are going up (and AMC is trying to milk every last cent out of customers) and the only movies that are making any sort of big money are blockbusters like Marvel films and other franchise fare. So, to say that “Top Gun: Maverick” has somehow “saved” the industry because it’s another franchise film that earned a lot of money at cinemas is a bit… dubious. And yet, I find myself disagreeing with someone like Steven Spielberg.
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You see, in a clip from a recent red carpet event, Steven Spielberg is seen talking to Tom Cruise, producer and star of “Top Gun: Maverick.” In the clip, which has since gone a bit viral, you can clearly see Spielberg congratulate Cruise for saving the “entire theatrical industry.”
“You saved Hollywood’s ass,” Spielberg said. “And, you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously. ‘Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
Look, there’s no denying that “Top Gun: Maverick” is a solid film and earned a ton of acclaim and box office dollars. Hell, it’s even up for Best Picture at the Oscars. But to say that this film single-handedly “saved” an industry is objectively wrong.
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Sure, ‘Maverick’ made a lot of money and lined cinema chains’ pockets with quite a bit of cash during a time when there aren’t too many films doing that. However, it’s still a franchise film that cost a ton of money and furthers the argument that only those types of features are able to be successful in theaters. Where are the ‘80s, ‘90s,’ and even ‘00s adult dramas that would do massive money? Or the rom-coms that would dominate the box office? How about the surprise indie that lands a ton of word-of-mouth? Those are all going straight to streaming. We’re left with a world where only two of the Top 15 domestic releases of 2022 are not tied to an existing IP or franchise (“Elvis” and “Nope”).
Sorry, that’s not a “saved” industry. That’s an industry furthering its reliance on one specific product, which will continue to alienate the rest of the products and create larger gaps in success. But hey, Tom Cruise is a star and Steven Spielberg is a legendary director. One is just congratulating the other. Good for them.
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