2021 Could Finally Give Tom Cruise A $1 Billion Movie

Tom Cruise has never headlined a billion-dollar hit movie but between Top Gun 2 and Mission Impossible 7, could 2021 be the year that he manages to?

Despite his many hits over the decades, Tom Cruise has never actually headlined a billion-dollar hit movie — but with Top Gun: Maverick and Mission Impossible 7 coming out next year, could 2021 be the year that he finally manages this feat? There are few stars famous enough to sell a movie solely on their screen presence, with most studios relying on cash cow franchises and recognizable intellectual properties to guarantee maximum income. However, one of the last major movie stars who can singlehandedly sell a movie is Tom Cruise.

Since he first graced the big screen in the early ’80s, Cruise’s career has gone from strength to strength and the always-improving box office reception of his Mission Impossible movies proves that the audience’s love affair with the actor is far from over. From 1986’s cult classic Top Gun through to 2018’s Mission Impossible: Fallout, Cruise has been a consistent hitmaker for decades.

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However, despite how reliably popular the actor’s work has been proven with viewers, somewhat remarkably Tom Cruise has never made a $1 billion movie. A handful of his more recent efforts have come close, with Mission Impossible: Fallout netting almost $800 million. So could 2021 be Cruise’s chance to finally make over a billion at the box office? The actor has a pair of big movies that could help his chances, the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick and the reliable franchise installment Mission Impossible 7. But which is likely to finally make Cruise a billion-dollar name at the box office?


It may seem like Mission Impossible: Fallout’s near-$800 million payday means the next Mission Impossible movie will likely be bigger than Top Gun: Maverick and thus Cruise’s best chance of breaking the billion-dollar mark. But it’s not a guarantee. Cinema releases have been wildly underperforming in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus and subsequent new guidelines for multiplexes, and even before COVID-19 action movies weren’t a guaranteed money-spinner for Cruise. While the Mission Impossible franchise has been a consistent draw for audiences, the disastrous performance of 2017’s The Mummy proves that a Tom Cruise-fronted action movie can flop despite a huge marketing campaign and massive hype.

That said, despite the crowded market of 2021 cinema releases caused by studios holding off on bringing out most blockbusters, Mission Impossible 7 still has a solid shot of breaking a billion. After all, the Fast & Furious franchise managed to skyrocket past a billion at the box office on the back of its insane stunts, and whether it’s hanging onto jet planes or abseiling skyscrapers, Cruise is constantly raising the bar in terms of madcap stunt work when it comes to the Mission Impossible franchise. It’s also a recognizable property that audiences are familiar with, something The Mummy couldn’t boast and which could also hurt Top Gun: Maverick’s box office performance. With a 34 year gap between movies Top Gun: Maverick is unlikely to do the same tidy box office business as Mission Impossible 7 as cinema-goers haven’t heard from the titular hero in decades and are less likely to find his brand of high-flying action as reliably consistent as Ethan Hunt’s stunt-heavy spy-work.

More: Top Gun 2’s Most Important Unannounced Character Is Maverick’s Father

Key Release Dates

  • Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2021)Release date: Jul 02, 2021
  • Mission: Impossible 7 (2021)Release date: Nov 19, 2021

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