Turmoil fails to put dent in Tom Cruise’s popularity

Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 1:00 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 1:00 AM

Just turned 50, Tom Cruise is eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Just split from third wife Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise is the object of told-you-so cynics who simply knew that romance wouldn’t last. Just finished with his stab at something really different as a heavy-metal rock god in “Rock of Ages,” Tom Cruise is coming off one of the lowest-grossing movies in his career.

Yet just out with his latest action flick, “Jack Reacher,” Tom Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

He’s weathered ridicule, intense speculation about his family life, bumpy stretches at the box office brought on by audience disdain over his personal antics and some ill-considered movie projects.

And Cruise is right where he was when 1986’s “Top Gun” vaulted him to superstardom: On top. Maybe not the same level of on top as the 15-year stretch that began in the early 1990s, when practically every Cruise film was bound to be a $100 million hit.

But for a guy his age, with his baggage, in a business that deifies youth and excommunicates talent when it goes off the deep end, Cruise still prospers.

“None of us can stay in the spotlight that long without some issues and some controversy. Tom has stayed committed all along to finding great projects,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman at Paramount Pictures, which released “Jack Reacher” on Dec. 21. “What you see over time is that Tom has been in such a great list of movies that are of such high quality, that ultimately, people come back to the work and the talent.”

Fans seem to agree. In a poll of nearly 1,000 people buying movie tickets at Fandango.com, 82 percent said Cruise’s personal life does not influence whether or not they will see his movies.

“The target audience for ‘Jack Reacher’ probably doesn’t care whether he’s married, separated or divorced,” said Fandango.com chief correspondent Dave Karger. “As long as teenage guys tell their friends that they liked it, that’s all that matters. These aren’t people that are reading Us Weekly. They just want to know how the action is.”

Arriving amid a pre-Christmas rush of films, expectations are modest for “Jack Reacher.” The film was made on a moderate $60 million budget, about $100 million less than Cruise’s last “Mission: Impossible” installment, and Paramount executives hope holiday crowds will give “Jack Reacher” an extended shelf life after opening weekend.

Adapted from “One Shot,” part of Lee Child’s series of best-selling books about a mysterious ex-military investigator, “Jack Reacher” features colder, crueler violence than the typical Cruise action film, which could hurt its prospects after the school shootings in Connecticut.

Cruise’s Reacher is a fairly merciless lone wolf, while the movie opens with gruesome slayings as a sniper randomly scopes out victims to shoot.

“No question, for any of these types of movies, it’s a raw nerve,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “Violent imagery of any kind may be a bit of a tougher sell right now.”

Yet for the long haul, Cruise’s prospects look steady. Despite derision his private life has brought him, Cruise has suffered only bumps and bruises professionally. At the height of his bizarre romance with Holmes, when Cruise was jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch to proclaim his love, he bewildered, annoyed and even infuriated fans.

Yet they have kept coming. A month after the 2005 couch trip, Cruise scored one of his biggest hits ever with “War of the Worlds.” The following year, after alienating many people with his suddenly public sermonizing about his Scientology beliefs, damage was evident as “Mission: Impossible III” seriously underperformed the franchise’s earlier installments.

He went five years without a huge solo smash, though he did delight fans with a twisted supporting role in the comedy hit “Tropic Thunder” and defied expectations by earning respectable box office and reviews as an eye-patch-wearing German officer in the Hitler assassination thriller “Valkyrie.”

Paramount, Cruise’s long-time studio home, dumped him in 2006 over his odd behavior, and the actor went on to a failed attempt to revive the United Artists banner that resulted in the 2007 war-on-terror dud “Lions for Lambs.”

Then Cruise and Paramount realized what a good thing they’d had together. He rejoined the studio for “Tropic Thunder” and last year’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which restored Cruise to the blockbuster ranks and generally is regarded as the franchise’s best installment.

No matter what anyone thinks of his personal life, Cruise has a reputation as one of the hardest working men in show business, with an unparalleled work ethic.

“He’s very focused,” said Emily Blunt, his co-star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller “All You Need Is Kill” that is now shooting.

“Tom has always been nothing but professional and sweet and open and a lot of fun for me to be around,” Blunt said at last July’s Comic-Con fan convention, where she was preparing for the start of production on the film after months of preparation with Cruise. “I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

Paramount is squarely back in the Tom Cruise business with “Jack Reacher,” a solid action tale with decent reviews. If fans turn up, it could be another franchise for him and Paramount, where a fifth “Mission: Impossible” film also is under consideration.

For the near future, there are no deviations from the sort of movies that have worked for Cruise in the past, no “Lions for Lambs” or “Rock of Ages.” Next year, Cruise stars in the sci-fi yarn “Oblivion,” playing a repairman fighting aliens on a decimated Earth. “All You Need Is Kill” is another Cruise-against-creatures tale, about a soldier caught in a time loop in which he relives his death over and over in a battle with aliens.

“Tom Cruise can viably continue to do these action films if only because he looks better than any 50 year old I’ve ever seen,” said Karger of Fandango.com. “The one thing you hear the most about Tom Cruise as an actor is that this is the guy who commits. From ‘Rock of Ages’ to ‘Tropic Thunder’ to an action-heavy movie like ‘Jack Reacher,’ this is the guy. It’s superhuman, the energy he puts into a performance. As long as that remains his work ethic, he can do things like this for a long time.”

Georgia named world’s top filming location

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:51 PM

Tom and Steve/Getty Images

Georgia has just surpassed California, the United Kingdom and Canada as the No. 1 filming location worldwide, according to FilmLA's 2016 Feature Film Study

>> Read more trending news

The study, conducted by the nonprofit film office in Los Angeles, analyzes the 100 highest-performing feature films released every year. It also examines how much it took to make each of those films and how much of that money was spent in the place the film was made.

In 2016, Georgia led the pack in terms of number of films produced in a city, with 17 major movies shot across the state. Multiple shows are filmed in the state, too. California and Louisiana combined only produced one more film than the Peach State. 

>> Related: Check out the locations for 5 Oscar-nominated movies filmed around Atlanta

The Georgia film incentive program is largely responsible for the huge influx of new movies into the state. Georgia offered over $600 million to production companies just last year. 

Did you know all 17 of these movies were filmed in Georgia last year?

Get your tickets for summer movie series at historic Victoria Theatre

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 12:02 PM

Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” FILE PHOTO

One sure way to cool off during the summer heat is to head indoors for a Cool Film.

The Victoria Theatre Association announces the 2017 Summer Cool Films Series schedule running July 8-Aug. 28, plus titles for Reel Late at the Vic late night movies and daytime Family Films.

“There’s no better way to spend your summer than at the historic Victoria Theatre watching classic films,” says Ken Neufeld, president and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association and the Arts Center Foundation. “We’ll show early classics such as ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?,’ ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ ‘Brigadoon,’ ‘Royal Wedding’ and ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ as well as later classics ‘McCabe and Mrs. Miller,’ ‘Kelley’s Heroes’ and ‘Clue.’”

“Plus, we are once again hosting the Thursday Family Films series in July with ‘The Neverending Story,’ ‘Flipper,’ ‘Follow That Bird’ and ‘The Muppets Take Manhatten.’

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“‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ returns as part of the Reel Late at the VIC series lineup, along with ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same.’ We are still using 35-mm prints as much as possible, keeping the prices low and offering free popcorn and soda at most every show. Come on down and see these great films on the big screen with us this summer.”


Tickets are $6 each ($3 for the Family Matinees) or $35 for a 10-ticket passbook. Passes can be used in any combination across all films.

Passbooks are on sale now through Ticket Center Stage. They may be purchased at the Schuster Center Box Office in downtown Dayton, by phone at (937) 228-3630 or toll free (888) 228-3630, or online at www.ticketcenterstage.com – click on Victoria Theatre Association, then Cool Films Series.

Individual tickets are available day-of-show at the Victoria Theatre Box Office, beginning one hour prior to showtime. Films are shown at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays.


Guests may enjoy free popcorn and soda in the lobby beginning one hour prior to showtime and a classic cartoon just before the movie.

>> MORE: Guide to drive-in movie theaters in Dayton


Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.


Starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Directed by Robert Aldrich. 1962. Not Rated.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN — July 14,15 & 16

Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. Directed by Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen. 1952. Not Rated.

KELLY’S HEROES — July 21, 22 & 23

Starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Carol O’Connor. Directed by Brian G. Hutton. 1970. Rated PG.

CLUE — July 28, 29 & 30

Starring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn and Christopher Lloyd. Directed by Jonathan Lynn. 1985. Rated PG.

BRIGADOON — Aug. 4, 5 & 6

Starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charise and Van Johnson. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. 1954. Rated G

COOL HAND LUKE — Aug. 11, 12, & 13

Starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy and Strother Martin. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg. 1967. Rated PG.

ROYAL WEDDING — Aug. 18, 19 & 20

Starring Fred Astaire, Jane Powell and Peter Lawford. Directed by Stanley Donen. 1951. Not Rated.

McCABE & MRS. MILLER — Aug. 25, 26 & 27

Starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Rene Auberjonois. Directed by Robert Altman. 1971. Rated R.


Thursdays in July, 10 a.m.

FOLLOW THAT BIRD — July 6 at 10 a.m. 1985. Rated G.

THE NEVERENDING STORY — July 13 at 10 a.m. 1984. Rated PG.

THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN — July 20 at 10 a.m. 1984. Rated G.

FLIPPER — July 27 at 10 a.m. 1963. Rated G.


Select Saturdays in July and August

PURPLE RAIN — July 8 at 10:30 p.m. 1984. Rated R.

LED ZEPPELIN: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME — July 22 at 10:30 p.m. 1976. Rated PG.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW — Aug. 26 at 10:30 p.m. 1975. Rated R.

All shows & dates subject to change.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ rockets to No. 1

Published: Sunday, May 07, 2017 @ 4:04 PM

Box office figures for Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," have gone into orbit, bringing in an estimated $145 million this weekend. That makes the sequel to the 2014 hit Marvel's 15th straight No. 1 opening at the domestic box office, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The space adventure movie, starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, also has done well worldwide, too. Since premiering overseas more than a week ago, the movie has pulled in about $428 million, CNN reported.

"Vol. 2" is Marvel Studios' fifth-biggest opening. The original film, which is not based on Marvel heroes, grossed $773 million worldwide, CNN reported

Critics have been favorable toward "Vol. 2," as the film was rated at 82 percent by review site Rotten Tomatoes.

Robert Redford, Casey Affleck movie to be filmed in downtown Dayton

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 3:15 PM

Why should Cincinnati have all the fun? 

A portion of the Robert Redford film “The Old Man and the Gun” will be filmed in downtown, Caresse Drake, a manager of First Financial Bank location at 120 W. Second St., confirmed. 

Drake’s branch is in Liberty Tower and will be closed for filming May 2. 

The Liberty Savings branch is closed in the building, but the company is still headquartered in the tower.  

The old Liberty Saving’s lobby and at least one other part of the tower will be used in the film that the Internet Movie Database says stars Redford as an elderly bank robber now living in a retirement community who wants another heist.

Affleck, who recently won an Oscar, plays the police officer trying to catch him.

>> MORE: Casey Affleck Thanks Brother Ben During 2017 Oscars Acceptance Speech

  “Liberty Tower is excited to be chosen as a filming location. This movie will highlight the Tower Lobby, and Liberty Savings Bank’s efforts to preserve the historical integrity and original grandeur of the building,” Jenna Kreitzer, the tower’s manager said. “Normally we frown upon robbery activity in the building, but in this case we’ll roll out the red carpet.”

The art deco building is near the The Arts Garage and the Schuster Center. The high-rise is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Formerly known as the Mutual Home Savings Association Building, Liberty Tower was the tallest building in Dayton between 1931 and 1969. 

Drake said two of her tellers are set to play tellers in the movie, which also stars Redford, Tika Sumpter, Sissy SpacekDanny Glover and Casey Affleck.  

Pete Nichols, Vice President with Colliers International, who is the real estate agent for several of these properties says, “It’s a great event for the city of Dayton, and we’re doing everything we can to help."

The film is being directed by David Lowery and is based on a 2003 New Yorker article by David Grann. 

>> MORE: Dayton man to play cop in Robert Redford film

From Liberty Saving’s bank’s website:

“Constructed in 1930, the elegant Liberty Tower featured such innovative “firsts” as underground parking and an air cooling system.”

>> MORE:  The 3 most “endangered” historic buildings in Dayton 

Much of the movie is being filmed in Cincinnati. 

Drake said the portion shot at Liberty Tower involves Affleck getting to the bank right after Redford leaves. 


The movie production crew will be filming at the Liberty Savings Bank on 2nd Street, which will be closed between Ludlow St and Wilkinson starting at 6:30am on that Monday. 

Second Street from Main to Ludlow will be closed again at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 2, at 7p.m. The film company will have vehicles, boom lifts and lights parked on 2nd Street during these two days, according to FilmDayton.


The film has already contracted with or done business with the following business: 

• Dayton Cultural & RTA Center 

• Talbott Tower,

• Arts Garage 

• Liberty Tower 

• 1st Financial 

• Key Bank 

• Table 33 

• Lucky’s Tap House 

• City Parking Garage 

• Leigh Building


Film also means jobs and the following Montgomery County residents have already been hired to work on the film, according to FilmDayton.

• Story Board artist J.Todd Anderson, 

• Mike Salamone and Kevin Martt both have been hired as Grips, 

• Jaclyn Laravie will be the Key Set Costumer. 

• Amy Faust as a Camera First Assistant 

• Russ Faust as a Gaffer 

• Wright State graduate Scott Bowers will serve as the Second Assistant Director. 

• Wright State graduate Grad Crawford Norman will be a Cast Assistant


Liberty Tower is a historic Art Deco building located on West Second Street. The Tower, which opened in 1931 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 

was the first high rise structure in the city of Dayton, and remained the tallest until 1969. Liberty Savings Bank is the current owner of the building. A restoration project in 1998 helped to showcase original elements throughout the building and the first floor lobby. This Grand Lobby boasts 30 foot ceilings, stunning marble tile work, and many original fixtures-including a remarkable walk-in bank vault.

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