Tom Cruise's PR Push: 'Oblivion' Star Strategizes to Improve Box-Office Prospects

Tom Cruise Taiwan - P 2013
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Tom Cruise Taiwan - P 2013

The A-lister is going global, working "tirelessly," says one exec, to promote his latest from Los Angeles to Moscow.

This story first appeared in the April 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Coming off box-office disappointments Rock of Ages and Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise is seeking to reverse his fortunes with the futuristic Oblivion. And Cruise, 51, is sticking to a well-worn strategy: Focus overseas.

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With the Universal pic opening in 51 territories before its U.S. bow April 19, the star has been working red carpets from Moscow to Taipei. His two-week tour spanned seven countries on an itinerary he handcrafted. While Cruise became a polarizing figure in the U.S. after his split from Katie Holmes, foreign audiences remain largely loyal.

Although Rock of Ages marked a global misfire ($56 million), Reacher did OK overseas, where its $136 million haul represented 63 percent of the film's $217 million tally. Paramount made a heavy push in Asia for Reacher, a strategy being replicated with Oblivion. Cruise isn't ignoring U.S. media, though. He's booked time with Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart and appeared at the L.A. premiere April 10 (though press deemed unfriendly, including THR -- which recently ran a book excerpt involving Cruise and Scientology leader David Miscavige -- were banned from the red carpet).

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Early tracking suggests Oblivion will open domestically in the low-$30 millions, which would mark Cruise's best U.S. bow since Mission: Impossible III earned $47.7 million in May 2006. Says Universal marketing head Josh Goldstine, "He's worked tirelessly to promote the film."