“Top Gun: Maverick” star Tom Cruise made a rare late-night TV appearance and sat down with Jimmy Kimmel on Friday, as the two talked about why Cruise pushed to make sure “Top Gun: Maverick” was given a lengthy, exclusive theatrical release before it hit streaming (it’s currently on Paramount+) — and how long he would’ve held out.
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Cruise was asked about pressure from various people in Hollywood to put the sequel on streaming during the pandemic, as the film was originally scheduled to be released in June 2020.
Cruise explained that if he had to wait a decade for “Top Gun: Maverick” to be released in theaters, he would’ve.
“I assumed you got pressure, from whomever – the movie studios, investors, or whoever it was to put the movie out on streaming you said ‘no,’ and you held it for two years, you were I guess a billion and a half dollars right,” Kimmel said to Cruise, referring to the film’s global box office gross.
Cruise laughed as the audience applauded and said, “People have been asking for the movie for 34 years, and I figured a couple more years would’ve been alright.”
“I would’ve held out for 10 years,” Cruise said as he answered Kimmel’s question. “The film is made for the screen. I made it for theatrical. We all did. We all made it for theatrical. It wasn’t just me.”
Cruise explained to Kimmel that everything he does is motivated by giving the audience the best experience.
“When I make a film, I want to go see it with an audience,” Cruise said. “When they really enjoy it, that’s what I want. I make my movie for audiences and you all, so it’s a pleasure. I just want to entertain you.”
Kimmel asked Cruise when he’s seeing these movies if people in the audience recognize him. Cruise said oftentimes he’s spotted by fans and he gladly takes pictures with them.
Kimmel responded, “You always do. You’re really very patient. It’s almost annoying how patient you are with everybody.”
Kimmel and Cruise also talked about the daring stunts the 60-year-old actor does in his various films, notably in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Kimmel said he thinks it is important for people to know that Cruise is the only person doing these stunts and played a clip of Cruise jumping out of a helicopter in a remote area.
“How many times did you shoot that?” Kimmel asked. “That was dangerous.”
“I jumped off that eight times,” Cruise responded. “That was wild.”
Cruise added, “I just try to do everything I can, use every tool that I have to entertain the audience. So, even as a little kid, I used to steal lumber from a junkyard, and I’d ride down the hill as fast as I could – hit the ramp and go over garbage cans. It didn’t work.”
Cruise explained he didn’t successfully clear the trash cans, in fact, he smashed right into them. However, he said to Kimmel that from his childhood days to the present, his goal is to do whatever it takes to please his audience.
Given the six Oscar nominations and nearly $1.5 billion box office of “Top Gun: Maverick,” we’d say Mission accomplished.