Tom Cruise (Sort Of) Back at Cannes: How Paramount Is Using the Festival to Promote ‘Mission: Impossible 7’

A familiar face is back on the Croisette. Well, kind of…

Tom Cruise may not be attending this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where “Top Gun: Maverick” premiered in 2022 to massive fanfare, but the star’s presence is enduring in the South of France. For festival attendees, it’s impossible to miss the giant LED screen outside the famed Carlton Hotel, where a trailer of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1” has been playing on loop all week. It’s designed to hype up movie lovers for the seventh installment in the globe-trotting franchise, which has no affiliation with Cannes, but debuts theatrically in July.

“We’ve had this location for years because it’s at the heart of the festival action,” says Marc Weinstock, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution. “Cannes is a renowned festival with global reach, which is why we chose to screen ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ there. It’s the perfect setting to showcase a Tom Cruise movie.”

It’s not just Cruise’s latest blockbuster that’s being promoted around the Croisette. Disney has larger-than-life posters for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which premiered out of competition earlier in the week, and Sony has an activation overlooking the Mediterranean Sea for “Gran Turismo,” a video game adaptation that opens in theaters this August. As the international box office continues to rebound from the pandemic, Hollywood studios have returned to tout their biggest movies to overseas audiences.

“As evidenced by the number of big films we’ve seen this spring and with a massive summer ahead, the industry seems to be firing on all cylinders with no signs of slowing,” Weinstock adds.

Paramount brought a similar marketing installation for last year’s “Top Gun: Maverick” to the lawn of the Grand Hotel since the Carlton was under construction. Cruise is especially beloved by international audiences, who helped the all-audience blockbuster shatter box office expectations with $774 million overseas and $1.49 billion globally. That kind of appeal makes Cannes, which attracts cinephiles from across the globe, an ideal destination to boost awareness for a big-budget sequel like “Mission: Impossible 7.”

“We knew we had the perfect movie with ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and our Cannes screening was a huge highlight of our global campaign,” said Weinstock. “From Tom’s “Masterclass” preceding the screening, to his surprise Palme d’Or — punctuated by a thunderous standing ovation — to the French fighter jets executing a dramatic flyover prior to the screening, the entire experience was unforgettable.”

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