It may be the last hurrah for big movie stars, but on the set of “The Mummy,” Cruise acted like the top gun he once was, calling all the shots.
Kurtzman had been in the running to direct the project before Cruise signed on, but the actor gave his blessing for the filmmaker to slide behind the camera.
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“Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” the statement read.
“He has been a true partner and creative collaborator, and his goal with any project he works on is to provide audiences with a truly cinematic moviegoing experience.” Cruise’s controlling behavior comes as Hollywood’s star system is in tatters.
The film is performing much stronger overseas, where it was Cruise’s biggest international rollout with a $142 million opening weekend.
It’s not clear if the movie will break even, and it’s cast a shadow on the studio’s plans for a Dark Universe franchise that’s supposed to feature A-list stars like Johnny Depp (as “The Invisible Man”) and Angelina Jolie (in negotiations for “The Bride of Frankenstein”).
Cruise has navigated the new landscape better than some–the “Mission: Impossible” franchise still makes money but other efforts such as “Oblivion” have disappointed.
Going forward, he may have difficulty exerting the same kind of sway over other films.
In the 1990s and early aughts, studios shelled out big money for the likes of Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Harrison Ford, confident that their names above the title could guarantee ticket sales.
In exchange they were offered big perks, hefty salaries, and a sizable share of the profits.
In the same way that he commanded the stage at the film’s premiere, leaving his cast standing awkwardly by his side, several sources close to the production say that Cruise exerted nearly complete creative oversight on “The Mummy,” essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set.
On stage, Cruise admitted his own perfectionist tendencies. I give it everything I have and I expect it from everyone also.” Universal, according to sources familiar with the matter, contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions.
A representative for Cruise didn’t respond to a request for comment.