Tom Cruise led the way for tentpole movie production during Covid but recent reports suggest his latest action-packed instalment has ballooned to a $290m budget

Intentionally or not, Tom Cruise has become the public face of pandemic film-making. His long-awaited Top Gun sequel has been booted down the release schedules even more than No Time to Die; its original release date of July 2019 was first pushed back a year, then held there for two more because of Covid. When the world (prematurely) thought that the virus had been sent packing in 2020, he made a special video about how much he loves going to the cinema. And then, of course, there was the leaked audio of him (correctly) going full nut-nut at his crew for breaching social distancing rules. Tom Cruise owns the pandemic, just like he owns running in films and sending out cakes at Christmas.

However, this has come at a price. Yesterday, Variety revealed that the production budget for Cruise’s upcoming Mission: Impossible 7 has ballooned beyond all proportion. Thanks to a frantic shooting schedule that effectively saw Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie racing around the world trying to beat the disease – stopping and starting production seven different times since February 2020 – the film has now burned through $290m.

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