Often referred to as “the last movie star,” Tom Cruise has had a long and impressive career spanning more than four decades. Although Hollywood has produced many celebrities over the years, no one has been able to emulate his career. Cruise has established a reputation as a hard-working and charismatic actor, receiving three Golden Globe Awards and an Honorary Palme d’Or in 2022. He has also been recognized for embracing incredible stunts most actors would prefer not to do.
Cruise made his first film appearance in 1981’s Endless Love and skyrocketed to fame with Risky Business and Top Gun. He went on to star in many other movies, including collateral, Jack Reacherand Edge of Tomorrow. Even in the 2020s, Cruise has enjoyed continued success. Here are the seven highest grossing movies of Cruise’s career.
7 Mission: Impossible (1996) — $457.7M
Towards the end of the 90s, Mission: Impossible successfully launched what would become a $3 billion+ franchise. The first film grossed almost half a billion dollars at the box office, a theatrical run most other spy films could only wish they had. Mission: Impossible introduced the world to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and the franchise’s stylish spy-themed action scenes. The only Mission: Impossible sequel to have a lower box office gross than the first film was 2006’s Mission: Impossible III.
6 Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) — $546.4M
Mission: Impossible 2 continued the story of Ethan Hunt, once again impressing audiences with larger-than-life action sequences. In the sequel, Ethan led his team on a mission to prevent a biological weapon from being unleashed. sorry, Mission: Impossible 2 was not as well-received as its predecessor, often prioritizing style over substance. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable action film that paved the way for better sequels.
5 War of the Worlds (2005) — $603.9M
Steven Spielberg’s 2005 sci-fi action flick War of the Worlds was based on the novel of the same name by HG wells. Cruise played Ray Ferrier, a father protecting his kids amidst a dangerous alien invasion. The film was positively received by critics, but with a mixed response from the general audience. However, War of the Worlds was a major commercial success and was only outperformed by that year’s Harry Potter, Star Warsand The Chronicles of Narnia movies.
4 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) — $682.7M
Before working on fallout and Dead Reckoning Parts One and Two, Christopher McQuarrie directed and wrote Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The fifth installment in the series disbanded the IMF (Impossible Missions Force), forcing Ethan to go on the run while simultaneously fighting the Syndicate. Rogue Nation gave audiences one of the most memorable stunts in the franchise’s history, with Cruise hanging onto a plane during takeoff. McQuarrie breathed new life into the Mission: Impossible franchise, with Rogue Nation grossing more than $680 million worldwide.
3 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) — $694.7M
Directed by Brad Bird, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was another major success. The film grossed nearly $700 million worldwide and made almost $300 million more than the previous film, Mission: Impossible III. as expected, Ghost Protocol brought great action scenes, and it was also brilliantly paced. It also had a charming supporting cast in Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner. One of the standout scenes of the film was Ethan climbing the Burj Khalifa, a skyscraper in Dubai. Although Cruise was securely attached by multiple cables, unlike Ethan, he actually climbed the skyscraper in real-life (via Yahoo).
2 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – $791.1M
The sixth Mission: Impossible film received critical acclaim and became the highest-grossing film in the franchise upon its release. Pitting Cruise’s Ethan against Henry Cavill’s double-agent August Walker, Mission: Impossible – Fallout definitely did not disappoint. Everything in the film was at the franchise’s best, from the screenplay to the acting, cinematography, and action scenes. The positive reception to fallout led to major interest in its sequel Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (a trailer for which released earlier this year). fallout was also the highest-grossing movie of Cruise’s career before Top Gun: Maverick.
1 Top Gun: Maverick (2022) – About $1.3B
Top Gun: Maverick was delayed countless times to perfect the action sequences and later due to COVID-19. Some critics questioned the interest in a sequel releasing almost 40 years after the original. However, Top Gun: Maverick proved to be one of the greatest legacy sequels ever made, attracting fans both new and old. Blockbuster films have relied heavily on green screens, but Top Gun: Maverick placed their actors in the cockpit of real fighter jets. Grossing over $1.3 billion, Top Gun: Maverick outperformed heavy hitters such as The Batman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at the box office.