Actor Tom Cruise attends a special premiere of "Edge of Tomorrow" at the AMC Loews on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in New York. New York is the final
Actor Tom Cruise attends a special premiere of "Edge of Tomorrow" at the AMC Loews on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in New York. New York is the final stop on a three country, three premiere in one day fan premiere tour. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Tom Cruise spends an eternity dying in his new film “Edge of Tomorrow.”

Throughout his more than 30-year career, the film icon has rarely died at the box office, though.

More often than not he plays some type of hero. In the new sci-fi film, Cruise is a military PR man named Bill Cage who gets sent to the frontlines in a counterattack against an alien invasion.

This is his second sci-fi thriller in a row. “Oblivion,” released last year, took in about $89 million domestically and $286 million worldwide. The numbers are about equal to Steven Spielberg's “Minority Report” (2002) starring Cruise — $132 million domestically, and $226 million internationally. It was Cruise's second pairing with the director, the first being “War of the Worlds” (2005), which did even better at $234 million domestically and $357 million in foreign markets.

Cruise's first foray into the field was Cameron Crowe's “Vanilla Sky” (2001), based on the Spanish film “Open Your Eyes.” Meant to be a sexy mystery about dreams and life extension, it was panned heavily but still managed to make $100 million domestically and $102 million in foreign box office.

Emily Blunt, Cruise's co-star in “Edge of Tomorrow,” calls him a hard worker and says his example bleeds down from the top on the set.

“He's a very powerful force in that way,” she says, adding that he enjoyed the irreverence of the British people. The film was shot in England.

“He likes laughing at himself,” Blunt says.

Cruise has been traveling the world to promote “Edge of Tomorrow,” which is directed by Doug Liman. Since “Oblivion” brought in nearly 70 percent of its box office from abroad, promoting in foreign countries is important.

Based on a Japanese militaristic science-fiction graphic novel, “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the movie's title was changed by the studio last year because there was a negative reaction to “kill” in the title, according to a Variety article.

The superstar does little, if any, press these days, except responding occasionally to innocuous questions on a red carpet. On one day last week, there were three premieres of the film — London, Paris and New York City — where the star signed autographs for fans.

“Once we came up with the idea that this character is kind of an anti-hero, a coward, it was a lot of fun to play,” Cruise told the New York Daily News on the red carpet.

So far, critics have been positive about “Edge of Tomorrow,” which reportedly cost $178 million. It will open against the teen romantic drama “The Fault in Our Stars” in the U.S.

Last weekend's overseas opening was considered soft, facing off against “Maleficent” and the holdover “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

But don't count out Cruise or the film too fast. The 51-year-old actor — born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV — still has a strong enough box-office name to make it a bright tomorrow.


Follow Rob Lowman on Twitter: @roblowman1


Tom Cruise: 5 of his top sci-fi films

By Vernor Rodgers

Tom Cruise made his first appearance in the science fiction/fantasy genre nearly 30 years ago in a film more fantasy than sci-fi. Here is a rundown of Cruise's adventures in these movies:

Oblivion
Oblivion

LEGEND (1985): Director: Ridley Scott. Cruise is Jack, who must take a break from teaching Princess Lili (Mia Sara) the language of the animals when Darkness (Tim Curry) plots to have the world turn to ice. Jack must track down Lili and the unicorns needed to restore the world to better living conditions. Along the way, he encounters the elf Honeythorn Gump (David Bennent, voiced by Alice Playten), the fairy Oona (Annabelle Lanyon), and dwarves Brown Tom (Cork Hubbert) and Screwball (Billy Barty). The film picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup.

VANILLA SKY (2001): Cruise is David Aames, a wealthy owner of a publishing company in this English-language remake of “Open Your Eyes,” Alejandro Amenabar's 1997 Spanish film. It is a complex mix of incidents that may or may not be real, including a romance between Aames and the beautiful Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz), along with a jilted lover, Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz), who tries to kill him in an auto accident. Now disfigured, Aames meets a man in a bar (Noah Taylor), who informs him he has been in a cryonic sleep for 150 years, after he killed himself with a drug overdose. He soon learns that when he signed a contract with the cryogenics company preserving him, he opted to start the lucid dream shortly after his drunken night when Sofia left him under the “vanilla sky” from a Monet painting. However, during his sleep, the dream has gone horribly wrong and attempts to incorporate elements from his subconscious. Director: Cameron Crowe.

MINORITY REPORT (2002): In this movie based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Cruise's Chief John Anderton is the leader of a Precrime force that uses Pre-Cogs, people gifted with the ability to see into the future, to arrest people before they commit crimes. Things go awry when the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton will be committing a murder in the next 36 hours, and Anderton does not even know the pending victim. He decides to solve the mystery by finding the “minority report” — the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha (Samantha Morton) — that might tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent. Director: Steven Spielberg.

WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005): In Cruise's second collaboration with Spielberg, he plays Ray Ferrier, a divorced dockworker with a barely amicable relationship with his son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning). During a weekend visit with his children, Ferrier finds himself and the world under attack with huge mechanical beasts bent on taking over the world, thrusting him into a role of being resouceful or perishing, along with his family. This remake of the 1953 classic film, which, along with Orson Welles' earlier, terrifying radio broadcast, was based on the H.G. Wells story, earned three Academy Award nominations in technical categories.Director: Steven Spielberg.

OBLIVION (2013): Cruise plays a guy named Jack Harper in the year 2077. With the Earth ravaged after years of war with the Scavs, Harper and his partner/lover Vika Olsen (Andrea Riseborough), in addition to providing maintenance of drones on Earth, are assigned to protect from Scav attacks the gigantic offshore fusion energy generators that provide power to the Tet, a large space station used as a launching pad to transport humans to the Saturn moon Titan for relocation. Jack has had visions of himself and a woman during prewar days visiting the Empire State Building. One day while checking out a signal he discovers the pre-invasion spacecraft Odyssey that finally has crashed on Earth, and inside he finds the woman of his visions, Julia (Olga Kurylenko). When she is revived she knows Jack, but before he can investigate further he and Julia are attacked and captured by Scavs, who turn out to be human survivors, led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman). Beech urges Jack to help them by destroying the Tet using a number of unstable fuel cells, telling Jack that everything he knows is a lie. Director: Joseph Kosinski.