Tom Cruise Net Worth and How He Earned Millions

Tom Cruise Net Worth and How He Earned Millions

When it comes to wealthy Hollywood celebrities, very few are in the same league as actor and producer Tom Cruise, who’s not only one of the most bankable stars in the industry today but also one of the highest-paid. Cruise has starred in more than 50 motion pictures in his four decades in the movie industry. His career mainly consists of action-packed films that appeal to a global audience.

Tom Cruise’s net worth as of 2024 is reportedly a staggering $600 million, and it’s believed he commands an advanced salary that’s upwards of $20 million per movie. These are impressive figures, especially considering he didn’t come from a wealthy background. A look back at his life and lengthy career shows why Tom Cruise has more than earned his net worth. 


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Early Life

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York, as one of four children. His mother worked as a schoolteacher, and his father worked as an electrical engineer. Because of his father’s career, the Mapother family moved a lot.

The Mapothers divorced when Cruise was 11. After his mother remarried, the family relocated to Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His academic performance suffered because he struggled with dyslexia in school. Cruise was a strong athlete until he suffered a knee injury in high school. 

When he was still a teenager, Cruise considered becoming a priest and attended seminary school for a year. After changing his mind and leaving seminary school, he won the lead role in his high school’s production of Guys and Dolls. He auditioned after receiving encouragement from one of his teachers. That performance sparked an acting career that has lasted since the early 1980s and continues. 

First Movies 

Cruise left high school and moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, giving himself 10 years to become successful. After attending numerous fruitless auditions, his luck changed when he was given a minor part in Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields (1981), and performed in Taps with Timothy Hutton (1981). Next, he was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders (1983) with C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Ralph Macchio. The Outsiders had a respectable performance at the box office and has since developed a cult following.

His roles in these early movies may not have given Tom Cruise the prominence he sought, but they were enough to help him land his next acting job, the role of a lifetime. His part in Risky Business would propel him to stardom and lay the foundation for one of the most lucrative careers in Hollywood today. 

Breakthrough Roles 

In Risky Business (1983), Cruise plays teenager Joel Goodsen, who has the wildest of times with his friends while his parents are out of town. The scene with him dancing and lip-synching to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll” wearing a button-down shirt, socks, underwear, and Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses is one of the most recognizable and frequently parodied scenes in the history of the silver screen.

Amazingly, Cruise was only paid $75,000 for this role, but his star and fortunes were rising. 

In 1985, he played the earnest, innocent youth, Jack, along with Mia Sara as Princess Lily and a heavily costumed Tim Curry as the menacing Darkness in Legend. It didn’t do well at the box office, and critics hated it, but movie fans in later years felt otherwise, and it has since become a cult classic. 

Cruise became a superstar with the blockbuster military action and drama film Top Gun (1986) the following year, co-starring with Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Edwards. His Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is one of the most iconic characters in Hollywood, earning him a payday of $2 million. The wild success of Top Gun, with box office receipts of $357 million, is one of the reasons for the increase in Tom Cruise’s net worth. 

Critical Acclaim 

Tom Cruise’s reputation as a bankable star rose with his performances in critically acclaimed movies like The Color of Money (1986), acting opposite legend Paul Newman, and Rain Man (1988) alongside another Hollywood superstar, Dustin Hoffman. Rain Man was the year’s highest-grossing film, bringing in $354 million. 

In 1989, his portrayal of real-life Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July (1989) garnered Cruise a Golden Globe win for Best Actor and an Academy Award nomination, proving he could take on dramatic parts in films. Cruise built on those successes with more major roles, acting with more of the biggest names in Tinseltown. 

He starred in the military drama A Few Good Men (1992) with Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson, earning another Golden Globe nomination. In 1993, he headlined The Firm, based on John Grisham’s novel, with Gene Hackman in a supporting role. He famously went blonde to play the vampire Lestat in Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire in 1994, featuring Brad Pitt and Christian Slater.

More Hit Films 

Two more blockbusters with Cruise heading the cast soon followed in 1996. He introduced the world to the character of Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, grossing $457 million at the box office. Cruise did double duty in the film as an actor and producer, making his accomplishments even more impressive. He was paid handsomely for his efforts, pulling in a reported $70 million

He played the leading man opposite Renee Zellweger in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry McGuire, winning a Best Actor Golden Globe and another Academy Award nod. The film also starred Cuba Gooding Jr., who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It fared well at the box office, earning $273 million. His Jerry Maguire character has become a widely used meme, with Cruise screaming, “Show me the money!” 

In 1999, Cruise and then-wife Nicole Kidman starred in Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick’s last movie before his death. Later that year, he played guru Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia. This performance won him a third Golden Globe Award, this time for Best Supporting Actor, and his third Academy Award nomination. While Cruise is a multiple Golden Globe award winner, the Oscar still eludes him, but he can take solace in the profitability of his movies.

Box Office Gold

The megahits kept coming in for Cruise, along with the big paydays. For his work in Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), he earned $75 million, and the film grossed $546 million. He reunited with Crowe in 2002’s mind-bending film Vanilla Skyand portrayed a futuristic police officer and grieving father in Minority Report (2002), directed by Steven Spielberg. 2003’s The Last Samurai was a hit at theaters worldwide, drawing $454 million and giving Cruise his sixth Global Globe nomination.

Tom Cruise continued his streak as one of Hollywood’s most solid performers and consistent fan favorites, with roles in more smash hits like the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds, also directed by Steven Spielberg. Cruise also made a very smart decision about his pay for the film: instead of taking an upfront salary, which would have hampered the project, he agreed to take 20 percent of the gross sales. War of the Worlds had a worldwide take of $603 million, earning him in the neighborhood of $120 million. Blockbuster hits and smart salary decisions are why Tom Cruise’s net worth is so high. 

The actor had a minor but well-received role in Tropic Thunder (2008), in which he was barely recognizable under a beard and balding wig. Tom Cruise again showed his serious acting chops in the World War II-era drama Valkyrie (2008). His fourth movie in the Mission Impossible franchise, Ghost Protocol, had a massive box office haul of $694 million. Cruise continued to attract audiences to movie theaters with lead roles in the action films Jack Reacher (2012), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015).

Recent Smash Hits 

In recent years, Tom Cruise has shown no signs of falling off at the box office. Mission Impossible – Fallout made $791 million after its summer 2018 release with Cruise getting a $28 million dollar payday. In 2022, Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 movie, eclipsed the box office records of his previous films, earning $1.495 billion in receipts and earning him more than $100 million, which consisted of his $12.5 million salary and share of the ticket sales. 

2023’s Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One, the seventh installment of the franchise, earned $567 million at the box office. NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is a big fan of Cruise and posted about this movie’s premiere on his social media.

The next yet-to-be-named Mission: Impossible film currently has a 2025 release date.

Hollywood Relationships

As an A-list celebrity, Cruise has a lot of famous friends including, Micheal Jordan, David Beckham, and Dakota Fanning. However, he’s also known for being disliked by other Hollywood elite.

After parting ways with The Church of Scientology, actress Leah Remini singled out Tom Cruise in her 2015 memoir and docuseries, Scientology and the Aftermath. Cruise and actor Will Smith, who were once friends, also had a public falling-out following the 94th Academy Awards in 2022, when Smith slapped Chris Rock.

Cruise has been married (and divorced) three times: first to actress Mimi Rogers from 1987-1990, then to Nicole Kidman from 1990-2001, and lastly to Katie Holmes from 2006-2012. He has three children.

Earned Success

With such an impressive resume and business acumen, Cruise has a proven ability to bring audiences to the movies, making him one of the most visible actors over the last several decades. His ability to attract movie audiences and headline highly profitable movies is why Tom Cruise enjoys his success and the net worth he’s worked hard for. 

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks. and was republished with permission.

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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.

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