Believe it or not, Tom Cruise hasn’t had a billion dollar grosser until Top Gun: Maverick. During his first stint as the biggest movie star in the world, from the mid-‘80s through the mid-aughts, movies almost never made that kind of money. Then he was seen as kind of a weirdo for about 15 years, after his couch-jumping, Scientology-spouting antics made him a PR nightmare. But he’s worked his way back into the public’s good graces, and the reward is not only his biggest-ever hit, but also one absurd payday.
In a new piece for Puck, entertainment reporter Matthew Belloni breaks down the deal Cruise and his legal team worked out for the belated sequel he spent so long not wanting to make. His contract worked in two parts. First up, he was paid $12.5 million upfront. Then he scored 10 percent of the first dollar gross, “with escalators that increase his percentage at certain milestones,” Belloni says.
Right now the film’s worldwide gross is around $1.1 billion. It’s still in the box office Top 5 in North America. In fact, it’s behind last week’s big winner, the Minions sequel. Cruise doesn’t start getting backend until Paramount hits about $125 million in revenue, and they usually take about half of the box office gross domestically and a bit less internationally. If the film gets to $1.3 billion, which seems likely, Paramount’s revenue would be about $600 million, and 10 percent of that is, to be safe, about $55 million.
And that’s just from theatrical. He also gets cuts from home video, pay TV, streaming, etc. It’s not clear what his cut from those would be, but Belloni estimates that, end of the day, Cruise will get around $80 million to $90 million. He may even wind up with nine figures, just for one movie. And should there be a sequel, his contract would almost certainly be even better.
Anyway, good news for someone who’s already the most limber 60-something in the business.