Fellow blogger Doug and I have certainly disagreed over movies before, but perhaps not as strongly as we disagree over Tom Cruise’s latest, “Knight and Day.” While Doug seems to have found inspiration in the flat dialogue, obvious plot and cartoon characters, I found this movie barely watchable. It’s not a surprise to me that “Knight and Day” did poorly at the box office last weekend, but I do find it interesting that there is so much public speculation as to why the movie didn’t do well. Regardless of the movie’s many flaws, the studio seemed to think that Cruise as a headliner in a movie is still enough to overcome whatever other problems the film has.Obviously, the studio was wrong, and the media pundits want to explain why.
In fact, I even speculated a few weeks ago that Cruise was deliberately staying away from discussing Scientology publicly – in spite of anew Scientology expose - because he realized it would hurt his film’s box office as well as his image. But is that the real reason the movie failed? Or was it just bad marketing, as some suggest? Or could it be that Scientology has tarnished his big screen reputation forever and this is the beginning of the end for his career?
I think the most intelligent explanation I have read to date is Brad Sturdivant’s defense of Cruise. In his article, he spreads the blame around pretty evenly. He believes that Cruise should have picked a different script -something not identical to the Ashton Kutcher film with the same story, Then the studio should have marketed the movie differently, and not so close to the release of two blockbusters Then, surprise, Sturdivant states what many studios want to overlook: few people in the general public are really huge fans of Cameron Diaz. Scientology is never mentioned.
Lots of stars have big box office flops. Cruise has had a few in a row now. But i think his hysterical appearance on the MTV Movie Awards in character as Les Grossman from “Tropic Thunder” showed he still has the charm and star power that got him noticed decades ago. His religious pracitces aside, Cruise has always done better with comedy than drama, in my opinion. If he wants to redeem his career once again, finding a way to make us laugh while watching him on the big screen would be a good place to start.