Hollywood: Tom Cruise receives honorary Palme as ‘Top Gun’ jets into Cannes

The actor made his first visit in 30 years to the Cannes Film Festival


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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 11:07 AM

Tom Cruise received an honorary Palme d’Or and gushed about his passion for cinema as he made his first visit in 30 years to the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday for the launch of Top Gun: Maverick.

The French Air Force display team streaked across the sky over the red carpet as the stars headed into the screening for the long-awaited sequel to Cruise’s superstar-making 1986 blockbuster.

The movie was supposed to premiere at the French Riviera film fest back in 2020 before it was cancelled by the Covid pandemic and the film’s release delayed multiple times.

Cruise was adamant it was worth waiting for cinemas to be back in full swing, and said he never considered releasing Top Gun: Maverick via a streaming platform.

“That was not going to happen, ever,” he told a Cannes audience in a talk ahead of the premiere.

“I make movies for the big screen. Cinema is my love, my passion. I always go to movies when they come out. I’ll put my cap on and sit in the audience with everyone.”

Fans lined balconies and stood on roofs along the Cannes seafront to catch a glimpse of the stars, while others held up signs begging for a last-minute ticket to the screening.

Watch the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick below:

Meanwhile, Cruise’s fight is to boost cinemas as they struggle to emerge from the pandemic.

His 39 films as a lead actor have pulled in just shy of $8.5 billion (8 billion euros) worldwide, and Box Office Pro estimates Top Gun: Maverick could add as much as $390 million in the United States alone.

Critics have been mostly giddy in their reviews, with Empire magazine praising its “slick visuals, crew camaraderie, thrilling aerial action, a surprising emotional wallop and, in Tom Cruise, a magnetic movie-star performance as comforting as an old leather jacket”.

The Cannes Film Festival continues to be a popular launchpad for big budget spectacles, with industry insiders noting that its new sponsor TikTok has added another level of social media buzz this year.

Cruise received his surprise honorary Palme as he entered the theatre for Wednesday’s screening.

He was last in Cannes in 1992 for the premiere of Far and Away with his then-wife Nicole Kidman, and is the only Hollywood megastar of that era to have maintained his box office power, even as he prepares to turn 60 this year.

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