Steven Spielberg to Tom Cruise: “You Saved Hollywood’s Ass”

"And you might have saved theatrical distribution"

steven spielberg tom cruise you saved hollywood's ass
Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise, photos by Gage Skidmore

    At the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon on February 13th, Steven Spielberg hugged Tom Cruise and told him, “You saved Hollywood’s ass.”

    Footage captured their meeting, with Spielberg congratulating Cruise on getting the 2023 David O. Selznick Achievement Award from the Producers Guild and calling it “a great honor.”

    “But you know, you saved Hollywood’s ass,” Spielberg said as Cruise laughed and shook his head. “And you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously. [Top Gun] Maverick might have saved theatrical distribution.”


    As the executive producer and star of Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise insisted that the film be held until COVID-19 had ebbed to the point where it could be shown in theaters. The gambit paid off, as the film became Cruise’s highest-grossing ever and his first to cross the $1 billion mark, with a current worldwide take of close to $1.5 billion.

    Cruise attended the Nominees Luncheon as a producer of Top Gun: Maverick, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. As for Spielberg, he was nominated in the Directing category for his work on the semi-autobiographical The FabelmansCheck out a clip of their meeting below.

    Next, Spielberg will direct Bradley Cooper in a Bullitt reboot, and he’s also producing a documentary on his longtime collaborator John Williams. Meanwhile, Cruise’s Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One is due in theaters July 14th, he’s set to star in a song-and-dance musical, and his space movie filmed in actual space is reportedly still happening.