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Tom Cruise never really went everywhere, and yet he was gone for a while.
Something inexplicable happened around the Katie Holmes era (OK, it wasn't inexplicable. In fact it was discussed constantly. But for dramatic purposes, let's be vague) when the star of Top Gun, A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire became...
It wasn't that he had a few flops. Heck, Brad Pitt and George Clooney's names do nothing at the box office. Denzel Washington has made the same troubled-hero film about eight times now. And did you know that Johnny Depp sometimes makes films not directed by Tim Burton or about pirates?
We generalize. But for real, the very name Tom Cruise just hasn't been doing it for people for years now—while the very mention of "Tom Cruise" still brings to mind all-encompassing movie stardom.
But Tom Cruise and "Tom Cruise" may finally be realigning!
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, the fifth film in the MI franchise, didn't just top the weekend box office with $56 million. It exceeded analysts' predictions by more than $10 million and also was Cruise's third-biggest weekend opening ever, second only to Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds and the second Mission: Impossible.
"While all the movies in the franchise share the same pace and have certain similarity and brand recognition, there's the flair and touch the director brings to it that makes it special," Megan Colligan, Paramount's president of domestic marketing and distribution, told the L.A. Times yesterday.
Sure, it may have been the director...
But the more well-known Doug Liman directed Cruise's last action epic, Edge of Tomorrow, and that only made $28.8 million its first weekend. Point being, maybe if she had attributed the success to Simon Pegg, we'd buy it, but we're actually thinking that the unofficial moratorium is up on Tom Cruise.
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International
This is the thing: They aren't making 'em like Cruise anymore.
We've got countless shirtless studs to ogle on screens big and small. We have tremendous Actors—Sean Penn, Morgan Freeman, Viggo Mortensen and Benedict Cumberbatch come to mind—still in their thespian prime. Jon Hamm looks more like Cary Grant than Cary Grant did. But we don't have tons of Movie Stars left.
Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone still fit the bill. Denzel, Johnny, Tom Hanks and Robert Downey Jr. make it into both categories. And Cruise has a few Oscar nominations to his name, Magnolia especially proving that he's not skating by in the acting department.
But it comes down to a truly indescribable brand of magnetism.
It doesn't matter if you decided to break up with Tom Cruise after Eyes Wide Shut, or if now he and his religion are inextricable in your mind and certain alleged antics attributed to said religion will haunt you forever. It doesn't even matter that, sometimes, he has a maniacal laugh.
Cruise has true star power and that makes him a rare beast these days—a star whose movies are usually a good time because he is in it.
And sometimes he has an adorable laugh.