MOVIES

Why These Tom Cruise Movies Flopped

“Lions for Lambs” is a mostly-forgotten 2007 political thriller in which Tom Cruise plays a U.S. Senator. The film had plenty of ingredients a movie needs to succeed, starting with not just Cruise, but co-stars Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Michael Peña, and Andrew Garfield. It was also helmed by Redford, who was twice nominated for an Academy Award for best director for his work on “Quiz Show” and “Ordinary People.”

Cruise plays Senator Jasper Irving, who hopes to use the media to get the public on his side regarding a new initiative for the war in Afghanistan. The movie had a relatively small budget at just $35 million, but even at that small number, the movie couldn’t hit the break-even mark: It ended its run with just $64 million, including one of the worst opening weekends of Cruise’s career. It wasn’t a limited release either, but instead fell victim to the perfect storm of Hollywood flops: a boring story, poor promotion, and in the end, a total lack of awareness.

The reality is that “Lions for Lambs” was more of a prestige drama — the kind released for awards consideration — so it may never really have been intended as a big moneymaker. Nevertheless, it says a lot that the film didn’t even make back the studio’s investment. Adding insult to injury, it landed to abysmal reviews, resulting in exactly zero consideration for the industry’s top awards (though Streep did get a nomination from the AARP Movies for Grownup Awards).

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