Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise at the "Knight & Day" premiere… (Cristina Quicler/AFP )
The page was barely refreshed on the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce filing when the quips started flying. (Our colleague Ben Fritz on Twitter: “Somebody make a joke about Katie having seen ‘Rock of Ages.’”) But all the snark did highlight a more substantive question: How does this play into Cruise’s up-and-down career?
The actor — who, jeepers, becomes eligible for AARP next week — had resurrected his image after his “Tropic Thunder” cameo four years ago. He then parlayed that rising stock into leading roles and box-office success, namely with the blockbuster “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” last Christmas.
But with the sputtering of “Rock of Ages” this season and now the inevitable stream of punch lines, does Cruise's career begin sinking again? Here are five movies the divorce filing could affect.
PHOTOS: Celebrity splits of 2012
--“Jack Reacher.” Cruise’s next film — and the one that could be hit most by the divorce. Scheduled for a holiday release, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed film follows an investigator (Cruise in the titular role) who is trying to solve a case about a sniper who's killing soldiers. No comedic “Pour Some Sugar on Me” rendition for talk-show hosts to trot out — but will we take Cruise seriously in a Messiah-like action role after months of divorce jokes? And will he promote the film? That doesn’t always work out so well when he’s going through a rocky time. Paging Matt Lauer ...
--“Rock of Ages.” The musical-comedy is practical getting more ink today than it did when it came out. If the film were a hit — or Cruise were perceived more sympathetically than he is, "Ages" might actually get a bounce at the box office. Alas, the movie, unlike its tunes, is bouncing nowhere.
--“The Master.” No, Cruise doesn’t star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s controversial fall release from the Weinstein Co. about a charismatic religious leader that’s believed to be based on the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But Scientology’s most famous Hollywooder back in the news just months before a provocative movie about the history of Scientology? Harvey Weinstein may be doing a jig as we speak. And if Holmes starts going on talk shows talking about Scientology…
PHOTOS: Celebrity splits of 2012
--“Oblivion.” There won’t be a long lag time between Cruise’s next role and the one after that, as Universal releases the Joseph Kosinki-directed “Oblivion” in April. The bad news for the movie? It has an outer-space element, which pretty much hands Scientology-minded comedy writers their jokes on a platter. The plus side for Universal: If “Reacher” tanks, they at least have enough time to postpone their release.
--“All You Need Is Kill.” A hot script when Warner Bros.bought it a couple years back. Now the project, which had yet to start shooting, may have cooled off. Doug Liman was to direct and Emily Blunt was to costar in a high-concept movie that had Cruise’s character fighting the same anti-alien battle, "Groundhog Day"-style, time and time again. Now it's the Cruise jokes that will keep repeating. We'll see if this one moves forward.
Movie review: Rock of Ages
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes heading for a divorce
'Mission Impossible 4' stars get spousal support at movie's New York premiere
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