Steven Spielberg overheard telling Tom Cruise that he "saved Hollywood's ass" with Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Steven Spielberg has praised Tom Cruise for single-handedly "saving" cinema with Top Gun: Maverick – high praise indeed.

"You saved Hollywood’s ass, and you might have saved theatrical distribution," Spielberg was overheard saying at the 2023 Academy Luncheon, an event for Oscar nominees. "Seriously, Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry."

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Cruise, who both starred in and produced the movie, campaigned tirelessly for Paramount to wait and give the Top Gun sequel a theatrical release rather than opt for a streaming debut during the pandemic. The movie went on to be the second-highest-grossing release of 2022 behind Avatar: The Way of Water, grossing nearly $1.5 billion at the global box office after it was released last May, and the highest-grossing movie of the year at the US box office. It's also the highest-grossing movie of Cruise's forty-year career. 

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the sequel to 1986's Top Gun sees Cruise back as test pilot and flight instructor Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell as he sets out to train a group of young pilots, including the son of his late best friend. Cruise is joined by Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Glen Powell.

Top Gun: Maverick is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Spielberg's latest movie, the semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, received seven nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg.

Top Gun: Maverick is now streaming on Paramount Plus, while The Fabelmans is still showing in UK cinemas. If you've already seen these two films, fill out your watch list with our picks of the other best movies of 2022

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.