Knight and Day is Not Tom Cruise’s Fault

Posted by: Brad Sturdivant

Once again, I find myself in the familiar position of defending Tom Cruise.  The very first article I ever posted on the internet was about how unfair the media reacted to Tom Cruise and his couch-jumping incident over five years ago.  We’ve come a long way since then, but the fact remains that the media absolutely hates the guy.  Cruise is in a position now that whatever he does is going to be scrutinized and used as proof that his career is over.  The most recent example of this is the poor performance of his latest film KNIGHT AND DAY.  But let’s look a little closer at KNIGHT AND DAY and try to break down exactly why it “only” pulled in $28 million in its first five days.

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day

First, we have an overplayed, pedestrian story.  The oddity here is that Tom Cruise has made a career out of choosing great scripts and appearing in quality, original films.  So he shouldn’t go completely unpunished because he could have said “no” when asked to star in this.  Regardless, he didn’t write the script, he just misjudged it.  The “overplayed” notion was highlighted this year when KILLERS, with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl opened up barely 45 days earlier to only $15 million.  The two films have virtually the exact same plot where a superspy teams up with an unwilling woman to perform a specific mission.  I’d suspect that no actor could pull this off, especially with Cameron Diaz.

Cameron Diaz

Which brings me to my next point; America does not like Cameron Diaz.  For years, Hollywood has tried to convince us that Cameron Diaz is both beautiful and a movie star.  She is neither.  She has never opened her own film and audiences haven’t enjoyed her since THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.  And the truth to that film is that any actress in that role, reciting those lines would endear themselves to the male population.  Since the female lead in KNIGHT AND DAY was such a predominant character, it needed someone the audience liked and was attracted to.  Diaz fulfilled neither of those needs.  If Hollywood learns a lesson here, let it be that Cameron Diaz is not a female lead and should not be used as such.

Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire

Finally, there’s the marketing of the film.  Was it just me, or did it feel like an episode of a bad TV show during the trailer and on the TV spots?  At one point, I saw them compare this character to Jerry Maguire.  Why would you compare an action role to a romantic role?  It’s not like Cruise has only done two movies and you had to stretch to find something comparable; the guy has done dozens of films, many of them action movies.  Even I, as a die-hard Cruise supporter, wasn’t excited about this film because of the poor marketing.  To make it worse, while watching the film, I realized a trailer could have been put together to make this look like a real movie, not a dopey action comedy.  Someone at Fox should be fired for their marketing campaign.

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day

Rumors now persist that the poor showing of KNIGHT AND DAY is going to lead Paramount to backing out of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4.  That’s a shame because a lot of people are excited about catching up with Ethan Hunt again.  Tom Cruise is not done as an actor.  He’s still one of the biggest and most successful movie stars in the history of film and one lackluster film does not a career ruin.  Tom will be back, and I’ll happily be waiting at the theater.

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