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Peter Bart: After ‘Top Gun: Maverick’s Setbacks And Delays, Its Star Is Back In Cruise Control

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It was an intimate cocktail party. Tom Cruise wore a cheerful smile so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to test it. “For someone who’s just been fired, you look very happy,” I said. “Sumner Redstone figured you would be angry by the press release.”“I’m not really fire-able, if that’s even a word,” Cruise replied, his smile intact. “Besides, prods from CEOs never anger me.”The media briefly fed on the studio press release, but as it turned out, Redstone and Paramount went into retreat mode within a week.

Paramount’s long-standing deal with Cruise’s production company had elapsed a month earlier, but the CEO forgot to check his facts before issuing his statement, so Cruise looked smart in ignoring the Hollywood rhetoric (details below).The incident took place 15 years ago, but I was reminded of it this week as Cruise was again winning some important battles on his latest, much delayed, movie.

Top Gun: Maverick would be destined to “own” Memorial Day weekend with a guaranteed, much extended theatrical run pre-streaming.

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