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Top Gun: Maverick Tom Cruise stands in his space suit

What does it take to get a Tom Cruise blockbuster off the launchpad? Well, if it’s anything like the process we’ve seen his untitled space movie following, all it takes is a pitch with some friends, and a dream. What it apparently didn’t require though, according to a recent report, is a script. All that Universal needed to give the green light to this movie was some of that Cruise-ish charm, and $200 million was able to walk out the door to send the Mission: Impossible star to space.

You read that right: according to Deadline, a Zoom call with an “enthusiastic” Tom Cruise, as well as writer/director Doug Liman and producer/Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, was all that was needed to get this unnamed film into orbit. This news confirms Universal’s involvement after being previously named as a potential production partner, and is a pretty interesting development when taking into account some recent history.

However, it’s not hard to see why Universal would be so eager to sign onto this secretive Tom Cruise blockbuster set in the stars. As the Mission: Impossible franchise has proven, Cruise still has that star power that puts people into seats. Not to mention, the hype surrounding Tom’s next film, Top Gun: Maverick, is pretty deafening, even when the film found itself delayed yet again to a debut slot a little over a year after it was intended. Throw in Christopher McQuarrie’s involvement with this space movie, as a story advisor and producer, as well as Cruise’s success with Doug Liman with both Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, and you have a pretty solid formula for success on paper.

But on the horizon, in the depths of historical memories from 2017, two words come back to potentially haunt Universal and Tom Cruise on the cusp of this new partnership: “Dark Universe.” With The Mummy still fresh in people’s minds as a stumbling block so huge, it lost an estimated $95 million after it crashed and burned at the box office, there certainly has to be some concern that this new film’s even larger budget could come with a similar cost. In cases like this, a script would be a good thing to have; though with the rumors of how much story control Tom Cruise had allegedly gotten with The Mummy, even a script may not have guaranteed success.

Discarding all potential worries, and looking at what’s clearly was clearly in front of Universal, Tom Cruise teaming up with two of his greatest collaborators on the first film to be made in space does feel like it’d be worth $200 million in production capital alone. With an intensive process ahead of them, and the gigantic novelty that making the first movie off-world, there’s certainly a thrill in the air when it comes to this unnamed project. Let’s just hope it works well enough that the Marvel Studios style budget pays off on this original IP.

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