Tom Cruise turns 54 on this July 3rd and - let's be honest here! - he's just gotten better with age. From the scrawny and awkward kid in Endless Love, Tom became a sex symbol for a whole generation with Top Gun, earned the respect of the Academy with Born on the Forth of July, got his first Emmy for Vanilla Sky and - of course - "had us all at hello" in Jerry Maguire.
With over thirty years in Hollywood and forty-two movies to show for it, Tom's net worth is currently at $470 million. Surely not every movie he does makes a humongous amount of money - Lions for Lambs and Rock of Ages sit at the bottom of the list - but Tom's not about to go broke anytime soon. Here are the 5 movies that helped him be one of the most powerful (and filthy rich!) actors in Hollywood.
5. Minority Report (2002)
In this Steven Spielberg's sci-fi thriller, Cruise plays John Anderton, a family man whose son had been killed years before. Minorty Report played with the idea of determinism - where the future is absolutely set in stone and is unchangeable - using PreCogs. These were mutated humans who can foresee the future, whose visions were used to arrest people before they committed a crime. John got framed for a future murder and, with the help of one of the PreCogs, was able to prove his innocence and shut the program down.
Minority Report wasn't as successful in the US as it was abroad - 63% of the gross came from outside America - but it amounted to a great $358 millions worldwide.
4. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
In Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise was Major William Cage, an inexperienced and not-so brilliant officer, who got thrown into a war with the extraterrestrial Mimics. The catch here was that every time the Alpha Mimic died in battle, their Queen Omega reset time, turning it back a day. With the help of Sgt. Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Cage managed to finally kill the Omega and end the time switches, rendering him a stranger to Vrataski in the aftermath.
Live. Die. Repeat. - as Edge of Tomorrow is alternatively known - had a soft opening weekend, grossing mere $20 millions in 28 countries, but it turned out to be extremely successful with over a $370 million gross over the world.
3. The Last Samurai (2003)
This epic presented Tom Cruise as American Civil War veteran, Cpt. Nathan Algren, who agreed to train the Imperial Japanese Army. Algren, however, ended up captured by the Samurai after his trainees were defeated by them, and was taken to a Samurai village. There, he became sympathetic to the Samurai and their way of life (and also developed feelings for a Samurai widow, Taka), and eventually helped defend the village against a Ninja attack. After the Samurai went to the capital to fight and were annihilated, Cpt. Algren became the last fighting man standing in the village (hence, The Last Samurai). He carried the Samurai values on and married his Taka.
Japanese audiences were far more enthused about The Last Samurai than their American counterparts and, in turn, over 75% of the movie's gross came from international viewership. In total, The Last Samurai made $456.8 million in the box offices.
2. War of the Worlds (2005)
Teaming up once more with Steven Spielberg - in yet another sci-fi - Tom played the divorcé and father of two Ray Ferrier. In this survival thriller, Ray and his children had to escape extraterrestrial tripods and probes, as well as desperate human mobs, while making their way to Boston. The three got separated when his son Robbie decided to help the Marines, leaving just Ray and his daughter Rachel to continue the journey. Ray proved himself quite the savvy guy when he saved Rachel and himself - and a whole bunch of refugees - from abduction. Eventually, the family reunited in Boston - Robbie included - and the final narration let us know that our microbes and bacteria killed the aliens for us.
War of the Worlds had a star-ensemble cast going for it, with Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto and Tim Robbins joining Cruise. The movie is the fifth biggest film opening in the Independence Day weekend to day, and grossed over $591 million worldwide.
1. The Mission: Impossible Franchise
Without a doubt, Mission: Impossible - all of them - has earned Tom Cruise the most amount in his career, making Ethan Hunt a pretty valuable character. Since Mission: Impossible (1996), with Brian de Palma directing, Ethan has had to fight a frenemy inside the IMF, prevented a terrible bioweapon from causing mass destruction in Sidney in Mission: Impossible II (2000) and suffered a streak of bad luck in search for a Rabbit's Foot in M:I 3 (2006). In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), a widower Ethan (a pretend one, at least) had to stop a nuclear attack, while in the latest Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, he escaped from the CIA as he tried to counter a terrorist attack.
Phew! With all that action, it's only fair Cruise should profit as much as he has with the franchise's success. Worldwide, Ghost Protocol is the highest grossing film in the series ($694 million). The other instalments rank as follows: Rogue Nation ($682 million), Mission: Impossible II ($546 million), Mission: Impossible ($546 million) and M: I 3 ($397 million).
Of course, there's much more to life than money. There's family (his children Isabella, Connor and Suri are very much a part of his life), there's Scientology (uh...let's not get into that), many accolades and even more work to come. Tom is currently filming The Mummy, set to open in June next year, and the next installment of Mission: Impossible has just gone in the oven.
I don't know about you, but I'd say Tom has many more than 420 million reasons to celebrate! Happy Birthday, Mr. Tom Cruise!