Yesterday was the Paramount presentation at CinemaCon in Vegas. Paramount needs a turnaround because they don’t have much, yet, to compete with the other studios. They do, however, have the Mission: Impossible franchise. And the new M:I is coming out this summer. So Tom Cruise was there to jack up the theatre owners and, last night, he received the Pioneer of the Year Award from the convention. He’s the first actor to receive the honour, perhaps because Tom Cruise is the movie star most committed to movies in movie theatres.
As Sarah has written about extensively, more and more, movies are happening on smaller screens. The audience has other options – and they’re taking those options. Sure, film purists may have a point about what the optimum experience is to watch a film but it doesn’t change the fact that, given the options that they have now, many prefer to see movies at home and are more selective about the movies that they go out for. Is Tom Cruise still the guy they’ll leave the house for?
He was on that stage yesterday representing that idea. So of course the theatre owners love him. Deadline wrote about their reaction to him and what he means to them in an effusive post about Tom’s day at CinemaCon that included him talking for over half an hour about one stunt he does in the new Mission:Impossible where he jumps out of a plane “over 160 times to get it precisely right”. Without a stuntman. Half an hour? More than 30 minutes? That’s a lot of detail. But that’s also Tom Cruise. That’s what they’re hoping will draw you to the theatre – watching Tom Cruise, on his own, jump out of a plane. After he described the process in all that excruciating detail, they showed the clip to the exhibitors and apparently they freaked out. And they’re hoping you will freak out and fork out $20 and take yourself to the theatre to see this happen with a bucket of popcorn in your lap. Will you?
What is the average lifespan of Tom Cruise awe? I’ve seen all of his Mission: Impossibles. In each of his Mission: Impossibles, he’s always doing crazy sh-t like jumping out of plane or hanging on to the side of a plane or hanging on to the side of a skyscraper or… something. And my personal Tom Cruise awe in these moments lasts about two minutes, which is probably the length of the scene. By the time I go to bed that night though, I’m not thinking about it anymore. Are you? Are enough of you? Can Tom Cruise save the theatre the way he saves people from car accidents and muggers, and sinking boats?