Warner Bros. Pictures Signs Tom Cruise to Develop, Produce and Act in Original Theatrical Films Beginning This Year

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group and Tom Cruise have signed a partnership deal to jointly develop and produce original and franchise theatrical films starring Cruise beginning this year. Cruise and his production company will have offices on the Warner Bros. Discovery lot in Burbank, Calif.

The partnership marks a return to Warner Bros. for Cruise, whose studio movies include Edge of Tomorrow, Rock of Ages, The Last Samurai, Eyes Wide Shut, Interview with the Vampire, Risky BusinessThe Outsiders, and New Line’s Magnolia.

“Our vision, from day one, has been to rebuild this iconic studio to the heights of its glory days, and, in fact, when we first sat down with [WBD CEO] David Zaslav to talk about joining the [company], he said to us, ‘We are on a mission to bring Warner Bros. back — we have the best resources, storytelling IP, and talent in the business — and we need to bring Tom Cruise back to Warner Bros.,'” Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, co- chairs and CEOs of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, said in a statement.

In a career spanning nearly five decades, Cruise is a three-time Oscar nominee whose films have generated nearly $13 billion in worldwide box office revenue.

He has played a leading role in numerous films such as Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business, Minority Report, Interview with the Vampire, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Rain Man, Collateral, The Last Samurai, Edge of Tomorrow, Born on the Fourth of July, The Color of Money, and the “Mission: Impossible” series, among many others.

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Disc Debut Lifts ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ Back to No. 1 on Weekly U.K. Home Entertainment Sales Chart

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One returned atop the Official Film Chart, Britain’s weekly home entertainment sales chart, following its release on disc.

It marks the movie’s third non-consecutive week at No. 1, ousting the previous chart-topper, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Barbie, and selling almost twice as many copies in the last seven days.

The Agatha Christie murder-mystery A Haunting in Venice (20th Century Studios) landed at No. 3, earning the title with the biggest number of digital downloads.

The highest new entry of the week comes from Lionsgate U.K.’s The Expendables 4 (also stylized as Expend4bles). The actioner again featuring an ensemble cast that includes Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture, plus new faces rapper 50 Cent, Megan Fox and Tony Jaa. 

Further down chart, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie moved up three spots to No. 6, while second new chart entry, Universal/Blumhouse’s The Exorcist: Believer debuted at No. 9.

Set 50 years on from the original events of original The Exorcist, two young girls show signs of demonic possession, unleashing a chain of events that forces single father Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.) to seek out Chris MacNeil, whose daughter Regan suffered the same fifty years earlier. Ellen Burstyn reprises her role of MacNeil, while Linda Blair appears once more as Regan MacNeil from the original 1973 film.

Rounding out the week’s Top 10, former chart-topper Fast X (Universal) makes a speedy return as it rises three spots to No. 10.

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The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Nov. 15, 2023

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Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One


Street Date 10/31/23;
Box Office $172.14 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $37.99 UHD, $44.99 UHD/BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material.
Stars Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Henry Czerny, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, Cary Elwes.

The last few “Mission: Impossible” movies have pretty much set the standard for espionage actioners the past decade. However, Dead Reckoning, the seventh film derived from the premise of the 1960s TV series, feels more formulaic than the franchise has for a long time.

While it still features some terrific action scenes and excuses for star Tom Cruise to do many of his own stunts, Dead Reckoning offers the thinnest story of the franchise since the third film. Of course, ostensibly all the plots for films such as this are crafted as an excuse to string together a series of action sequences, but the seams for Dead Reckoning are showing a bit more than usual, which isn’t ideal for a film that, at 163 minutes, is not only the longest “Mission,” but also the first half of what is meant to be an epic two-parter.

The antagonist is an elusive artificial intelligence program called “The Entity” that has somehow become sentient. What it ultimately wants to do isn’t exactly clear, but its immediate concern is finding a special key that can apparently be used to gain access to the computer that stores its base code. The key is thus the film’s MacGuffin, the object being sought after by all the major characters that puts them in conflict with one another, from Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, to the Entity’s handpicked mercenary, Gabriel (Esai Morales), and all parties in between, including a thief (Hayley Atwell) in above her head, to CIA operatives tracking Ethan for once again going rogue on a mission.

It’s all well and good, and an entertaining adventure on the whole that looks and sounds great on disc, though some of the character arcs are questionable, and the action beats seem to take more than a few pages from the book of Bond. The finale on board a train is also well realized, though it does bring to mind similarly staged sequences from the film Under Siege 2 as well as the “Uncharted” video games.

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The film’s HD disc configurations include a standalone regular Blu-ray Disc, a standalone 4K Ultra HD disc, and a Steelbook containing the film on both 4K and Blu-ray discs. The only extras included with the film discs are an audio commentary with director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton, and an isolated track of Lorne Balfe’s musical score. The filmmaker commentary is informative but tends to lean heavily toward the technical side.

The Blu-ray, 4K and Steelbook all come with the same bonus Blu-ray of additional extras, amounting to just six short featurettes totaling 31 minutes of behind-the-scenes material. Each of the videos focuses on a different setting or stunt: “Abu Dhabi,” “Rome,” “Venice,” “Freefall” (about Cruise’s well-publicized motorcycle jump off a cliff), “Speed Flying” and “Train.” These are pretty typical of promotional videos for movies such as this, though it is interesting to see some of the raw footage of the action sequences before visual effects were used for things such as removing cameras and replacing motorcycle ramps.

Digital versions of the film also include a nine-minute montage of deleted footage and a 10-minute featurette about editing the opening submarine sequence. Both are available with an optional commentary from McQuarrie and Hamilton.

Without the commentary, the deleted footage plays with a sample of Balfe’s score and no other sound or dialogue, as the footage is offered without any context aside from the viewer’s presumed knowledge of the film itself.

The editing featurette includes footage of the finished scene next to earlier footage and unfinished visual effects to provide some contrast between them as a demonstration of how the post-production process completes a film.

That these two pieces that total just 20 minutes are digital exclusives and weren’t included on the extras Blu-ray is something of a headscratcher, as surely the disc would have room for them given how scant what’s on there actually is.

Paramount Bullish on ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One’ Following Record $80 Million Five-Day Opening Weekend

Paramount Pictures’ seventh installment in the “Mission: Impossible” movie franchise, Dead Reckoning Part One, is projected to generate a record $80 million in North American ticket sales for its opening box office weekend through July 16, making Tom Cruise’s latest turn as special IMF agent Ethan Hunt the best yet financially.

The opening tally edged out previous No. 1 Mission: Impossible II at $78.8 million in May 26-29, 2000. The traditional three-day opening box office record remains with Mission: Impossible — Fallout, which posted $61.2 million in July 27-29, 2018.

Dead Reckoning sold another $155 million in tickets across 70 markets, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico Spain, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, for a total worldwide opening weekend estimate of $235 million, according to the studio. The movie had a reported $300 million production budget.

Enthusiasm for the movie got stronger as the weekend progressed, with two-thirds (65%) of moviegoers rating it excellent, and 90% rating it in the top two boxes (excellent or very good), and 69% definitely recommending it to their friends, according to Chris Aronson, president, domestic distribution at Paramount. Another 94% of surveyed moviegoers felt the movie met or exceeded their expectations.

“All ratings and recommendations are higher than the previous “Mission” movies, and higher than all our comps except Top Gun: Maverick,” Aronson said in a statement. “Audiences are embracing Dead Reckoning Part One as one of the best ‘M:I’s ever, and [it] will continue to play strongly around the world throughout the remainder of the summer.”

Paramount said the movie over-indexed in the West and Northeast regions of the United States and under-indexed in the Midwest, south central, and Southeast regions. Canada came in with a market share of 10.7% (8.9% overall).

Major markets that over-indexed include New York; San Francisco; Toronto; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix; Boston; Salt Lake City; Austin; and Vancouver, while the only major markets that under-indexed were Philadelphia and San Antonio. Top performing theaters included those in New York; Los Angeles; Dallas; Toronto; Boston; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Chicago.

About 24% of the box office came from premium screens and 13% came from Imax screens for a total of 37% of box office coming from all premium screen formats.

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In addition to traditional movie marketing trailers, Paramount released five behind-the-scenes featurettes globally showcasing the stunts and scope of the film’s production efforts.

MVD Preps ‘Rain Man’ 35th Anniversary Edition for 4K UHD, Blu-ray Release

MVD Entertainment is preparing a special 35th anniversary edition of the Dustin Hoffman/Tom Cruise classic Rain Man for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray Disc release on May 30.

The 1988 film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow), Best Actor (Hoffman) and Best Director (Barry Levinson).

Rain Man is making its 4K Ultra HD format debut with a new restoration (a just-completed 4K high definition 16-bit scan of the original camera negative) approved by Levinson and presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in Dolby Vision/HDR.  
Rain Man stars Hoffman and Cruise as estranged brothers on a road trip unlike any other across America. Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) has been given the news that his recently deceased father has left his entire fortune to his autistic brother Raymond (Hoffman), who he did not know existed. In a crass bid to grab some, if not all, of the inheritance, Charlie abducts Raymond and what begins as a money-making scheme for Charlie turns into a journey of discovery between brothers who are worlds apart. 
The two-disc 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray 35th Anniversary Edition includes hours of bonus content, including three audio commentaries (one with director Levinson, one with co-writer Morrow and a third with co-writer Bass). Also included are several making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes, a deleted scene, and the original theatrical trailer.  


‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Most-Streamed Movie Debut Ever on Paramount+

Paramount+ announced that the year’s biggest box office hit and Golden Globes nominee Top Gun: Maverick was the biggest movie premiere ever on the subscription streaming video platform.

The Tom Cruise-starring sequel to the 1986 original Top Gun topped previous record holder Sonic the Hedgehog 2 by 60% viewership. Streaming interest in Cruise movies increased as well, with the original Top Gun upping its viewership on Paramount+ by 400%, and the “Mission: Impossible” movies growing viewership by 150%.

“The runaway success of this film across theatrical, digital and now in streaming is an undeniable proof point demonstrating the power of Paramount’s multi-platform release strategy,” Brian Robbins, CEO of Paramount Pictures and chief content officer for movies and kids and family at Paramount+, said in a statement. “Across all our 2022 titles, and now with Maverick, our studio has unlocked the value of variable windowing that streaming provides to augment a film’s overall success.”

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Indeed, Paramount is ending a banner year at the box office, with six movies debuting at No. 1 in their respective theatrical weekend premiere, including Maverick (which generated the studio’s highest-ever North American box office revenue and was the first movie to win both the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend box offices); Sonic the Hedgehog 2; Smile; The Lost City; Scream and Jackass Forever.

Paramount+, which ended the most-recent fiscal quarter (ended Sept. 30) with 46 million standalone subscribers, this month added service to France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Available to Stream Globally

Box office hit Top Gun: Maverick is now available to stream globally on Paramount+ in the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

It will be available in South Korea and France in 2023.

In the film, after more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend, and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.” Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

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This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Nope’ Reviews; Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover the movie that Charlie has been raving about all summer: Top Gun: Maverick. In going over the review by John Latchem the movie is discussed as being a satisfying sequel to the original Top Gun, which came out over 35 years ago in 1986. Maverick pushes the nostalgia buttons for viewers who loved the first movie, but doesn’t lean too heavily on it as some recent franchise reboots have tended to do. Charlie goes on for an extended period about how his expectations for the movie were extremely low going into it and ended up vastly exceeding them. The combination of perfectly executed (albeit simple) plot beats and in-camera shots from jets made the movie well-deserving of Tom Cruise’s largest grossing film of all time.

Continuing the high profile lineup of the episode, the hosts cover another review by Latchem, for Nope, which Charlie has talked about seeing on a previous episode. It was a symbolism-heavy knockout by auteur director Jordan Peele, and while Charlie wasn’t quite as impressed with it as he was with Get Out, after thinking about it for a few weeks since initially seeing it he has concluded it was an excellent movie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, at the box office the No. 1 movie was Black Adam, leading the theatrical take for its second week of release, followed by an assortment of horror movies keeping in spirit with the Halloween season.

Top Gun: Maverick


Street Date 11/1/22;
Box Office $716.58 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $37.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of intense action, and some strong language.
Stars Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer.

Among the many considerable plaudits earned by Top Gun: Maverick during a historic box office run, one of the most remarkable might be the degree to which it retroactively makes its predecessor a better film.

The long-awaited (and pandemic-delayed) sequel to 1986’s Top Gun finds Pete Mitchell, callsign Maverick, the hotshot fighter pilot played by Tom Cruise, older but not much wiser — still flaunting the rules and refusing to evolve beyond his core identity as a naval aviator.

Tucked away from official duty while serving as a test pilot for a new stealth fighter called the Darkstar, Maverick is summoned back to Top Gun with orders to train a group of elite graduates from the famed dogfighting school for a mission to bomb an illegal nuclear facility in an unnamed rogue nation (which is definitely not Iran, wink wink). The mission is said to be nearly impossible to pull off, with the pilots forced to contend not only with GPS jamming and anti-aircraft missiles, but also the threat of new technologically superior fifth-generation enemy fighters. The key to survival will be how could the pilot in the cockpit truly is.

The film is essentially what it would feel like if the entirety of the first “Star Wars” movie were focused just on the pilots training for and carrying out the attack on the Death Star.

As to Maverick’s own personal growth, one stumbling block may be that he still blames himself for the death of his best friend, Goose, in the original film. The sequel, thus, provides some measure of a pathway to atonement in the form of Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller), who is among the new generation of pilots vying for a spot in the mission, and who resents Maverick for trying to impede his own career.

In his return to San Diego (even though in real life that’s not where Top Gun is located anymore), Maverick even gets a chance to catch up with old flame Penny (Jennifer Connelly), whose character is mentioned in the original film as a prior dalliance for the young pilot.

Thus, the two films, when taken together, tell the grand arc of Maverick learning where he fits in the world — and either adjusting to the new reality or testing its limits until it kills him.

While it also succeeds on its own merits, the sequel is evocative of the original but not a straight retread. There are scenes and characters that echo what came before, but the screenplay uses such nostalgia to enhance the story, rather than rely on it. In turn, circumstances of the original film take on greater meaning now that we know how they pay off.

That’s because Top Gun: Maverick works on so many levels, from an emotionally exhilarating story of an ersatz family coming together, to an eminently watchable, fist-pumping patriotic thrill ride.

Joseph Kosinski proves to be a deft choice for the director’s chair, bringing his reputation for strong visual dynamics to bear in making the film seem like a tribute to the late Tony Scott, whose work helming the original helped redefine the action genre. Fittingly, Top Gun: Maverick is a throwback to the heyday of action films that didn’t try to be more than they needed to be — entertaining crowds with charismatic movie stars, exciting combat, a love story to raise the stakes, and some chart-topping pop tunes (which in the case of this film should give Lady Gaga a chance at another Oscar).

The aerial photography is breathtaking, with the only potential drawback from a visual standpoint being the use of the F-18 Superhornet as the primary hero fighter. The F-18 has been featured in a lot of movies before, but it looks like a generic assembly line fighter jet and just doesn’t have the sexy big-screen presence of the F-14 Tomcat, which was featured in the original film.

Of course, switching from the F-14 to the F-18 was pretty much mandated by the constraints of reality, as the Tomcat was retired from active service in 2006, replaced by the F-18 as the primary naval fighter (with the F-35 set to take on more prominence going forward). The only country today still flying the F-14 in their fleets is Iran (just like the “fictional” enemy in the film, wink wink).

Cinematically, the film takes the original’s catchphrase of “the need for speed” to the next level, putting the actors in real F-18s to pull legit G-forces that you can see on their faces and practically feel through the screen. With the F-18 coming in both single and dual-pilot configurations, the production could stick the actors in the backseat and film them as if they were flying the single-seat version.

The earnestness of the filmmaking and cinematography gives the film an unmatched level of verisimilitude that makes it effortless to enjoy — despite what seems to be a cottage industry of former fighter pilots popping up on YouTube to analyze the technical inaccuracies of the film.

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The key question of the film is, as an aging pilot, where does Maverick belong? To many film fans, the answer to that question isn’t just that he belongs in the air, but in the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat, which is perhaps the most iconic fighter plane of all time thanks in no small part to being featured in 1980s films such as Top Gun.

Being well aware of this, it’s a good bet the filmmakers will find a way for Maverick to find his way back to the F-14. And when they do, it’s a pure hit of that sweet sugar we all crave.

The filmmakers know exactly what they’re doing, taking full advantage of basic screenwriting lessons of setup and payoff. This is a screenplay that tells you exactly where it’s going, and it’s a ride you want to take.

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The 4K presentation of Top Gun: Maverick is simply stunning, with reference-quality visuals and sound that should really push the boundaries of what home theaters can do. The HD presentation features a shifting aspect ratio, expanding to fill the screen during the aerial scenes to take advantage of the Imax photography used during production.

The film is offered in standalone 4K, Blu-ray and DVD editions — frustratingly, none of the wide releases are combo packs, aside from a code to access a digital copy being included with the 4K and Blu-ray sets. There is a limited-edition Steelbook with both 4K and Blu-ray included. A gift set of both films on both 4K and Blu-ray is due Dec. 6.

Only the Blu-ray editions include bonus materials, which are also accessible through the digital copy at some retailers.

These include several insightful behind-the-scenes featurettes. The eight-minute “Breaking New Ground” delves into the challenges of finding the techniques to make the film as realistic as possible, including creating new cameras for the cockpits; the nine-minute “Cleared for Take Off” invites viewers into the training the actors received to film the aerial sequences; the five-minute “A Love Letter to Aviation” deals with Cruise’s passion for flying and how he piloted his own World War II-era P-51 Mustang plane in the film; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Forging the Darkstar” looks at the filming of the fictional plane prototype in the opening sequence, for which the the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works development team was brought in to lend an air of authenticity.

Also included are music videos for the songs “Hold My Hand” by Lady Gaga (the new love theme that in tandem with the original film’s theme serves as the basis for the new film’s musical score), and “I Ain’t Worried” by Onerepublic (the song that accompanies the beach football scene that is this film’s version of the original’s volleyball scene).

Exclusive to the 4K disc (and digitally) is “Masterclass With Tom Cruise,” a terrific 50-minute discussion with Cruise at the Cannes Film Festival about his career.

Among the extras available digitally are a 26-minute promotional video of comedian James Corden going through pilot training with Cruise. There’s also a short video from CinemaCon of Cruise introducing a screening of Top Gun: Maverick while filming an aerial stunt for the upcoming Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, a trailer for which also is included.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Grabs Most Digital Sales Ever on Weekly U.K. Home Entertainment Chart Debut

After upending the box office, Paramount Home Entertainment’s release of Top Gun: Maverick across global retail markets is showing no signs of slowing down.

Following its release on digital platforms, Maverick quickly became the biggest-selling No. 1 debut in 2022 (through Aug. 31) and in the history of the Official Film Chart — the U.K.’s weekly home entertainment sales chart for transactional VOD and packaged media.

The critically acclaimed sequel to the classic 1986 air force action film re-unites Tom Cruise with former on-screen buddy Val Kilmer, as well as a newcomers Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly and Glen Powell.

The original Top Gun rebounded to No. 3 on the chart, and a special combination package featuring the original and its sequel is another new entry during the week at No. 8.

Elsewhere, Dog Soldiers, a 2002 British action-horror starring Sean Pertwee and directed by future “Games of Thrones” and Thor: The Dark World director Neil Marshall, marked a new entry on the chart at No. 9, following a special re-release to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

And finally, former chart topper Uncharted (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) moved back up six spots into the top 10.

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The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Aug. 31, 2022

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