Following the following box office success and audience reception to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, there has become a demand for Top Gun 3, but there’s a different legacy sequel Tom Cruise should work on next. Top Gun: Maverick followed the original movie by 36 years, making it one of the longest gaps between a film and its sequel ever. The interest in Top Gun over the decades clearly hadn’t waned, as the sequel made almost $1.5 billion worldwide (via Box Office Mojo).
Given that so many iconic movies were released in the 1970s and 1980s that audiences are nostalgic for, there has been a huge increase in legacy sequels over the past decade. Whether it’s Creed, Scream 5, Blade Runner 2049, or any other Harrison Ford sequel, the current cinema landscape is littered with legacy sequels. Given that Top Gun: Maverick was one of the most successful legacy sequels, there has been both a demand and talk at Paramount about Top Gun 3. However, while the threequel would have a good chance of becoming another massive hit at the box office, there’s a different legacy sequel that Cruise should prioritize first.
Tom Cruise Is The Perfect Age To Return For The Color Of Money 2
Though it isn’t part of a huge blockbuster franchise, Cruise starred in the 1986 Martin Scorsese-directed sports movie The Color of Money, which serves as a sequel to 1961’s The Hustler. The movie sees a young Cruise playing Vincent Lauria, a hustler who meets a much older con-artist, Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), and becomes his protégé. Since The Color of Money follows its predecessor by 25 years and sees Newman reprising the same role decades after the original, the 1986 movie is one of the first-ever legacy sequels. In that respect, it’d be poetic if The Color of Money 2 was produced almost 40 years later.
However, it isn’t just because The Color of Money itself is a sequel that Cruise should return for another movie. Paul Newman was an up-and-coming snooker player in The Hustler, and he then became the mentor to the next best player in The Color of Money. The Color of Money 2 can continue this trend with Cruise gaining a pupil of his own. Because it’s been 37 years since The Color of Money, Cruise is the perfect age to return in the sequel in a mentor-like role. It’d be a refreshing change of pace for the actor too and one that would harken back to his more dramatic roles in the 1990s.
The Color Of Money 2 Wouldn’t Be As Big As Top Gun: Maverick (But That’s Okay)
There’s no way that The Color of Money 2 would be as big as Top Gun: Maverick, whether in terms of the movie’s scale or the box office performance, but that’s totally fine. If Top Gun 3 gets confirmed, there’s no way that the movie will be as successful as Top Gun: Maverick either, as it’ll be impossible to repeat the 2022 movie’s phenomenal success. Box office performances are all relative to their budgets, and The Color of Money 2 wouldn’t require a budget much bigger than $20 million. If it made as little as $200 million, that’d be a huge net profit for the studio.
Ironically, that would be a higher value than what Paramount is looking at for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, so box-office-wise, The Color of Money 2 is actually a viable option for Cruise. The biggest issue would be convincing Cruise to work on a small-scale movie with no stunts. However, Cruise might welcome a smaller movie after shooting Top Gun: Maverick and then two Mission: Impossible movies back to back. As a proper drama, the legacy sequel would provide Cruise an opportunity to win his first Academy Award, just as Newman won his first Oscar for his The Color of Money role.