Monday, May 08, 2006


Film Journalism at Its Worst

Mission Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise had an opening weekend boxoffice gross in the US of nearly $50 million dollars and, as I suspected, journalists already have pounced on the angle that Cruise's behavior over the passed year -- which included becoming engaged to Katie Holmes, having a baby with her, arguing with Today Show's Matt Lauer and (gasp) jumping on Oprah's couch -- was the reason audiences didn't make Mission Impossible III an even bigger hit in its opening weekend. Here was the lead sentence of the AP report on the film's performance: "Fewer people chose to accept Tom Cruise's latest mission, a possible sign that the odd behavior of Hollywood's biggest star may have taken a toll on his box-office charm." What bullshit. Most of these actions by Cruise occurred last summer, and it certainly didn't stop his version of War of the Worlds from becoming his biggest hit to date (with grosses exceeding $591 million worldwide). Might these journalists have also considered that this is the THIRD of the Mission Impossible films, and no one has EVER claimed to be able to follow their convoluted plots? Perhaps more people listened to the criticism of part three -- which were along the same lines as the first two -- and decided to sit this one out. Or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the price of gasoline in this country is oppressive, and people are doing less driving. Perhaps the fact a movie ticket costs more than $10 now (which means that a family of four seeing a film, and having snacks would pay in the neighborhood of $100) had something to do with it. Maybe more people are putting the $100 into their gas tanks. Plus, since films come out on DVD so quickly now (much quicker than they did when the first two Mission Impossible films were released) maybe people are willing to wait and rent it for half the price (or, from Netflix, for a fraction of the price) of a movie ticket. Did any of these knee jerk entertainment journalists who covered this weekend's box office even consider any of those possibilities?

Tom Cruise is an egotistical nutball. His actions over the past year and a half have tarnished his reputation in my eyes and everytime I see a movie with him I am immediately uninterested. It's not just the Oprah thing, or the constant Scientology lessons, or even the psychiatry bashing that have turned me off, rather it's the fact that he rolls down a red carpet on a motorcycle or goes to premiers in cars worth more than some third world countries. His self-centered actions are the reason hollywood sucks and the reason people hate America.

That came off a little bit more harsh than I would have liked it to. I've never really voiced my opinions about Mr. Cruise before, so don't think that was a rant at the author. In fact I agree that the reasons stated by the author also contributed to movie's inability to meet expectations. It's just that those stories wouldn't sell magazines.
I'm with William. Sure, the points in the post are all valid, but Cruise IS a nut.
Also, I don't think it's quite as out of line as you say for journalists to tie Cruise's behavior to the film opening. It's hard for me to really think of anything Tom Cruise says or does as being anything more than one long ad campaign for Tom Cruise movies. If Pepsi launched a long campaign for a new product and it didn't have the expected results, you'd expect trades to comment. Since Cruise's public comments, alleged marraige and child are all part of a long media campaign, I think it's fair to treat them as such even if the horrible quality of the MI movie series, the high cost of tickets and gas and all the rest are also important factors.
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