I was watching my local news last night on Fox when during their entertainment portion (we love ya Toni Senecal), they absolutely bashed Tom Cruise. Which is odd for them because they don't usually go after someone hard like that. Toni? What's up? Over the weekend, Cruise's latest film Lions for Lambs -- and his first for the revived United Artists -- took in a little over $6 million. You have to go all the way back to 1986 (The Color of Money) to find another film starring Tom Cruise that opened so poorly. And this was a big deal for Cruise and United Artists; they went and snagged Robert Redford to direct, star; they got Meryl Streep and even Cruise stepped in to up the ante. They wanted raves. They wanted Oscar nods. They got ... $6 million and bad reviews.
To add insult to injury, when Fox was done ripping apart Lions for Lambs and its poor box office take, they next went after Valkyrie saying the buzz was not good and making fun of Cruise for wearing a "silly" eye patch, with a weird hairdo. Of course they spoke about the film with little to no information -- as if their core audience were a bunch of third graders who would stay away from a film simply because Cruise wears an eye patch throughout. While folks might not dig seeing Cruise in an eye patch, one thing is for sure -- they like to see the guy in action/adventure films. Mission Impossible 3 ($133 million), War of the Worlds ($234 million), Minority Report ($132 million) and even The Last Samurai ($111 million) all did very well at the box office. Are the people trying to send the man a message? And does that message go something like: "Look dude, we're not crazy about your off-screen antics. The Scientology thing is a little warped, you may have brainwashed Katie Holmes and your new baby may or may not be an alien. But we like it when you run and blow stuff up. The whole talky drama thing? Not so much. How can we take one of your films seriously when we don't take you seriously? So stick to that and we'll pay to see your movies." So, should he stick to action flicks? Should he try a comedy? Or, quite possibly, could Lambs' poor opening spell the beginning of the end for Mr. Cruise?