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Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise’s biggest box-office movies ranked – as ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ breaks new record

Is the evergreen star now the surest bet in blockbusters?

Written by Jon Hornbuckle
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Top Gun: Maverick is officially a global box-office phenomenon, breaking multiple records since its release last month.

With a running worldwide haul of $900 million, not only has it flashed past the original Top Gun’s earnings ($440 million when adjusted for inflation) like an F/A-18 passing a parked car, it’s become Tom Cruise’s biggest-ever box-office hit. It dethrones Cruise’s previous biggest money-maker, 2017’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which took $787 million globally.

Cruise’s career, of course, spans four decades, with his pre-blockbuster work focusing on smaller-budget dramas like Cocktail, and Risky BusinessThose films scored a more modest global box office total of $170million and $63 million respectively, but were made on minuscule budgets of $20 million each (a mere fraction of Top Gun: Maverick’s rumoured budget of $170 million).

With over $10 billion in worldwide receipts over his 40-year career, the top ten Cruise movies are otherwise dominated by the vastly popular Mission: Impossible series:

1. Top Gun: Maverick – $885 million
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – $787 million
3. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – $694 million
4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – $680 million
5.War of the Worlds – $606 million
6. Mission: Impossible 2 – $549 million
7. 
Mission: Impossible – $457 million
8. 
The Last Samurai – $456 million
9. Rain Main – $412 million
10. The Mummy – $409 million

Unsurprisingly, the evergreen franchise dominates the list taken from box office site The Numbers. With two further sequels scheduled for 2023 and 2024, it’s practically guaranteed they will storm their way to   the top half of this list upon release.

Cruise’s highest-earning non-franchise movie is Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds in 2005. Adapting HG Wells’s classic science-fiction novel from its Victorian England setting to contemporary America, the movie gave him his biggest-ever opening weekend – at least, until Top Gun: Maverick came along and stole its thunder. 

The actor’s recent non-tentpole efforts have tended to fizzle out with audiences, with 2012 musical Rock of Ages and 2017 action-comedy American Made both struggling to land big numbers. But stick the Cruiser in a cockpit, on a tall building or in the path of an implacable alien foe, and it’s whole different story.

Rounding out the top ten is 2017’s The Mummy, a big-budget remake of the classic horror series that was due to spawn a shared universe of films. While not exactly a box-office bomb, lacklustre audience reaction and negative reviews led its studio, Universal, to cancel all further plans for its so-called ‘Dark Universe.’

With the exception of 2016’s Mission: Impossible 3 - with a relatively paltry $398 million - every instalment in the spy franchise has earned more money than its predecessor.

With Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One arriving in July 2023, it stands a strong chance of dethroning Top Gun: Maverick as Cruise’s biggest-earner.

Read our review of Top Gun: Maverick here.

The best Tom Cruise movies

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