Tom Cruise Heads For Cruise Ship-Sized Payday As ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Hits $1.3 Billion At The Box Office
“Top Gun: Maverick” is a true box office phenomenon. As of this writing, it’s the highest-grossing film of the year and could be Tom Cruise’s biggest career box office performance. Believe it or not, this is the FIRST Tom Cruise film to earn over $1 billion at the box office.
Surprisingly, global receipts continue to skyrocket weeks after its opening weekend, even without hitting screens in the massive markets of Russia and China, where the film was shunned.
All of the films are collaborative, but the person most deserving of the film’s success is star Tom Cruise, whose hard work is evident on screen as well as in his breathless promotional schedule in support of the film’s release. Cruise sometimes comes across as someone driven solely by a love of movies, but let’s be clear. He has another big motivator when it comes to the success of Top Gun: Maverick:
But how much exactly can Tom Cruise earn from Top Gun? And based on the film’s $1.3 billion in worldwide box office receipts, where is his salary right now?
As we’ll explain in a moment, a star like Tom Cruise actually makes a lot more money from his participation in the backend than his initial base salary. But that doesn’t mean he played for free 🙂
Tom received $13 million as an initial base salary for his work on “Top Gun: Maverick.”
First gross dollar
If you ever find yourself a movie star in Hollywood, you’ll want to remember the term “first dollar gross.” But even then, it might not do you any good, as Tom Cruise is said to be the last remaining talent in the world with enough clout to deserve such a condition in his contracts.
For ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Tom Cruise is guaranteed a minimum of 10% of the first dollar gross, but that number could eventually climb up to 20% depending on performance milestones… milestones he’s almost certainly already achieved. .
What is “first dollar gross”? In short, the first dollar gross isn’t just a reduction in profits (the money after costs are subtracted), it’s a reduction in a movie’s overall gross revenue. The only cost taken before the first dollar gross is the amount retained by distributors, AKA theaters. Movie theaters take a reduction of around 40%. The first dollar gross comes before all studio production and promotion costs are deducted.
As we mentioned earlier, “Top Gun: Maverick” has grossed $1.3 billion at the global box office to date. After deducting 40% for distributors, that leaves $780 million.
When you include his initial base salary of $13, it’s safe to assume that Tom Cruise is currently in line to earn AT LEAST:
For your information, Tom only earned $2 million for the first “Top Gun” in 1985.
But even that is not all. After the film’s theatrical release, “Maverick” will enjoy a host of additional revenue opportunities. Everything from a sale to a streaming platform, on-demand buys, Blu-rays/DVDs, then cable screenings, and more.
When that happens, no exhibitor takes the usual 40% share of the profits, meaning Cruise’s cut would come from all of that streaming/home video revenue. If, for example, the film earned an additional $300 million in home show profits, Cruise would earn an additional $30 million as part of the deal. If this happens, Tom’s total salary would be…
That would easily be one of the highest salaries for a single movie in Hollywood history, though it’s still less than the inflation-adjusted $194 million Bruce Willis earned from his points. backend on “Sixth Sense”.
But keep in mind that all the calculations we just made assumed that Tom’s ultimate first dollar gross percentage remains at 10%.
As a fun thought experiment, imagine Cruise’s first dollar gross eventually hitting 20%, a possible scenario with various financial incentives and “sweeteners” built into his contract based on the film’s box office performance. If this ends up being true, Tom will win $156 million of the current world crude and $60 million from future sources of ancillary income. When you include his $13 million base salary, at 20% of first dollar gross, Tom Top Gun Maverick’s total salary would theoretically be…
FYI, that’s enough to buy three Boeing F18 Super Hornets like the ones featured in “Top Gun: Maverick” with $20 million left to buy gas 🙂