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.”

The Oscars 2017: Complete list of nominees

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 @ 8:14 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 @ 8:37 AM

            The Oscars 2017: Complete list of nominees

The nominations are in for the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

>> Read more trending stories

On Tuesday morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its list of nominees for each of the award show's 24 categories. The awards are meant to highlight the best in cinema each year.

Nominees, who are vying to win a coveted Oscar, are chosen by AMPAS' more than 5,000 voting members.

The 89th Academy Awards will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel on Feb. 26. It will be the first time the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" host will present the Oscars.

See the nominees below:


'Batman v Superman,' 'Hillary's America' tie for Razzie worst film award

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 @ 1:26 PM
Updated: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 10:27 AM

            'Batman v Superman,' 'Hillary's America' tie for Razzie worst film award

UPDATE: The Razzie Awards announced this year's "winners" Saturday.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and  "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party" tied for worst film award honors, scoring four Razzie awards each. Worst supporting actor went to Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Wiig won for worst supporting actress. Dinesh D'Souza won the worst actor award, while Becky Turner (as Hillary Clinton) won for worst actress, both starring in "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party."

Read the original report below.

A day before Academy Award nominations showcased the best in film, the people behind what they deemed "this year's tackiest Tinsel Town trophy" announced the contenders for the worst in 2016 cinema.

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The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation on Monday announced the nominees for its nine categories. The nominees will learn on Feb. 25 whether they won the awards, often known as Razzies.

This year, the categories each have six contestants as opposed to the regular five because, organizer Glenn Simon said, "2016 was so overfull of bad movies that we had to expand every category."

>> Related: The Oscars 2017: Complete list of nominees

A majority of the categories were chosen by the Golden Raspberry Award's 1,000 voting members. The Worst Screen Combo nominees were chosen by a vote on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.

"Zoolander 2" led the pack with nine Razzie nominations, including worst picture, worst actor and two nominations for worst supporting actor.

The comedy, which came out 15 years after the original "Zoolander," was closely followed by the superhero action movie "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." That film was nominated for eight Razzies, including worst picture and worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel.

See a full list of the nominees:

Nominees for Worst Picture

  • "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • "Dirty Grandpa"
  • "Gods of Egypt"
  • "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party"
  • "Independence Day: Resurgence"
  • "Zoolander 2"

Nominees for Worst Actor

  • Ben Affleck in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • Gerard Butler in "Gods of Egypt" and "London Has Fallen"
  • Henry Cavill in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • Robert de Niro in "Dirty Grandpa"
  • Dinesh D'Souza (as himself) in "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party"
  • Ben Stiller in "Zoolander 2"

Nominees for Worst Actress

  • Megan Fox in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  • Tyler Perry in "BOO! A Medea Halloween"
  • Julia Roberts in "Mother's Day"
  • Becky Turner (as Hillary Clinton) in "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party"
  • Naomi Watts in "Divergent Series: Allegiant" and "Shut-In"
  • Shailene Woodley in "Divergent Series: Allegiant"

Nominees for Worst Supporting Actress

  • Julianne Hough in "Dirty Grandpa"
  • Kate Hudson in "Mother's Day"
  • Aubrey Plaza in "Dirty Grandpa"
  • Jane Seymour in "Fifty Shades of Black"
  • Sela Ward in "Independence Day: Resurgence"
  • Kristen Wiig in "Zoolander 2"

Nominees for Worst Supporting Actor

  • Nicolas Cage in "Snowden"
  • Johnny Depp in "Alice Through the Looking Glass"
  • Will Ferrell in "Zoolander 2"
  • Jesse Eisenberg in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • Jared Leto in "Suicide Squad"
  • Owen Wilson in "Zoolander 2"

Nominees for Worst Screen Combo

  • Ben Affleck and his BFF (Baddest Foe Forever) Henry Cavill in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • Any 2 Egyptian gods or mortals in "Gods of Egypt"
  • Johnny Depp and his Vomitously Vibrant Costume in "Alice Through the Looking Glass"
  • The Entire Cast of Once Respected Actors in "Collateral Beauty"
  • Tyler Perry and That Same Old Worn-Out Wig in "BOO! A Medea Halloween"
  • Ben Stiller and his BFF (Barely Funny Friend) Owen Wilson in "Zoolander 2"

Nominees for Worst Director

  • Dinesh D'Souza and Bruce Schooley for "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party"
  • Roland Emmerich for "Independence Day: Resurgence"
  • Tyler Perry for "BOO! A Medea Halloween"
  • Alex Proyas for "Gods of Egypt"
  • Zack Snyder for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • Ben Stiller for "Zoolander  2"

Nominees for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel

  • "Alice Through the Looking Glass"
  • "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Dawn of Justice"
  • "Fifty Shades of Black"
  • "Independence Day: Resurgence"
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows"
  • "Zoolander 2"
Nominees for Worst Screenplay
  • "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
  • "Dirty Grandpa"
  • "Gods of Egypt"
  • "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party"
  • "Independence Day: Resurgence"
  • "Suicide Squad"

Most Americans have no idea who's up for an Oscar this year

Published: Friday, February 24, 2017 @ 11:43 AM
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2017 @ 11:43 AM

And the Oscar goes to ... um, you know, that movie, with that guy, about that thing...

That's how the average American might hand over the hardware come trophy time this Sunday. A National Research Group poll conducted for the Hollywood Reporter found that 60 percent of Americans polled in early February could not name a single best-picture nominee. But 70 percent plan to watch the awards show, airing at 7 p.m. on ABC, anyway.

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The poll surveyed 800 people, half of whom voted for Hillary Clinton and half of whom voted for Donald Trump in November's election, to ensure a balanced representation.

>> Related: The Oscars 2017: Complete list of nominees

"On average, Clinton fans were slightly more cinema-aware and were more likely to have seen the nominated films," the Hollywood Reporter noted.

To refresh your memory, the nominees are "Arrival," "La La Land," "Moonlight," "Fences," "Hacksaw Ridge," "Manchester by the Sea" and "Lion."

>> Related: 2017 Oscars: Two-sentence summaries of every Best Picture nominee

Judging from buzz and other awards leading up to the Oscars it looks like "Moonlight," and "La La Land" are the favored contenders.


'Star Wars' spoof in works by 'Scary Movie' team

Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 @ 12:44 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 @ 12:44 PM

            'Star Wars' spoof in works by 'Scary Movie' team

The brains behind the "Scary Movie" franchise has it's targets set on a galaxy far, far away.

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Setzer have announced their latest film parody: "Star Worlds Episode XXXIVE=MC2: The Force Awakens the Last Jedi Who Went Rogue."

The Hollywood Reporter announced that, while the film is still in the planning stages, it will begin shooting this fall.

>> Read more trending news  

Friedberg and Seltzer wrote "Scary Movie," as well as wrote and directed "Disaster Movie," "Vampires Suck" and "Best Night Ever."

"Star Worlds" is a second project under a deal between Covert Media and Broken Road Productions, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The first project is "Resurface," which is being billed as an underwater action thriller.