“You saved Hollywood’s ass,” Spielberg said. “And you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously, ‘Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”
Cruise appeared to take the messiah-like flattery with aw-shucks modesty before Spielberg excused himself to take a call.
The pandemic put a serious crimp in theatrical viewing but films such as Cruise’s and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (2022) have proved that movie fans will still flock to the cinema.
Cruise and Spielberg will be adversaries on Oscars night in March. Cruise is up for a Best Picture award as a producer for “Maverick,” as is Spielberg for his semi-autobiographical movie “The Fabelmans.” Spielberg is also a Best Director nominee.
The “Avatar” sequel, directed and produced by James Cameron, is also in the running for Best Picture.