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Jack Reacher proves Tom Cruise still got game

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Despite the spate of bad press Tom Cruise has endured as of late for his prominent membership in the Church of Scientology and recent break-up with wife Katie Holmes, despite a clan of blockbusters all vying for box office supremacy and despite having a movie name that screams “made for Hollywood” (because it was) … the latest Cruise venture will be a box office success and has earned a 75% audience approval rating.

In addition to acting, Cruise also produced the project and found the right movie making mix for box office success. By taking a story driven script that relies on plot development instead of overwhelming special effects, he was able to keep his cost to a reasonable $60 million.

Jack Reacher has taken in $45 million in box office after two weeks and although it now has to contend with powerhouse punches from both The Hobbit and Les Miserables (as well as a somewhat surprising strong performance by Django Unchained), it will be well into the black after factoring in foreign box office.

In retrospect, the decision to use Christopher McQuarrie as director was a smart move. His only other directorial title, The Way of the Gun (2000) was unable to cover its $21 million budget. But McQuarrie is no stranger to Cruise having written Valkyrie (2008).

Tom Cruise has been atop of the movie making heap for over 30 years, bounding onto the Hollywood scene with box office smash Risky Business (1983) and it is inevitable that detractors will look for signs of a downfall. A chink in the box office armor appeared in 2010 with the release of Knight & Day, which turned in a surprisingly weak domestic performance even though foreign sales easily put it into the black.

Most recently was the ill-timed Rock of Ages, an unqualified clunker, which tells the story of an aging rock star just as talk was ripe of Cruise’ own star having passed. But based on the smart choices made in the making of Jack Reacher, people rooting for the demise of Tom Cruise are probably going to have to wait.

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