EXCLUSIVE: When Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions were making the green light decision on the $150 million budget Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol following the lackluster $76 million domestic gross on Knight & Day, some wondered if Tom Cruise was still in the conversation as one of Hollywood’s most bankable male stars. The answer is yes. Today, the film will reach a global gross of $603 million, making Ghost Protocol the highest-grossing film of Cruise’s long career. It surpassed any film that Cruise made during his long relationship with Paramount, beating the $591.7 million gross turned in by War Of The Worlds.
Cruise has starred in five of Paramount’s top 10 grossing films in the last 15 years, with M:I4 falling in behind Titanic‘s $1.8 billion, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s $786.6 million, Forrest Gump‘s $677.4 million, and Iron Man 2‘s $623 million. The film has a strong chance to pass the Iron Man sequel. Studio insiders tell me that the film crosses the $400 million mark internationally today, and has already grossed $36 million in China after being released six days ago. We’ve seen how much Cruise put into the film as an actor — running up and down the Dubai skyscraper was something no star outside of Jackie Chan would do. Beyond, that, he spent 16 days promoting the film, covering nine countries on six continents. Cruise, who fought for JJ Abrams to make his feature directing debut on Mission: Impossible 3 (they produced Ghost Protocol together) also embraced Brad Bird to make his live-action directing debut this time around.
There will obviously be another Mission: Impossible, but those talks haven’t really gotten underway yet. Cruise, who opens in June in Rock Of Ages for Warner Bros, is shooting the Christopher McQuarrie-directed One Shot for Paramount (releasing February 2013), then goes right into the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion for Universal in March (releasing July 2013), followed by the Doug Liman-directed All You Need Is Kill for Warner Bros. Sequels often make it bigger to draw bigger numbers, and Jeremy Renner and the supporting cast helped, but with Ghost Protocol, Cruise has certainly answered questions about his place in the movie star food chain.