How Tom Cruise Made Cocktail A $100 Million Movie

By | April 28, 2022

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One of the few actors that could turn bottle flipping into a $170 million movie. IMDB

In 1988, Tom Cruise’s “Cocktail” made its bid for “most ‘80s movie ever”. It grossed more than $170 million despite scathing reviews. Touchstone Pictures executives considered many of Hollywood’s leading men before they lucked into their box office breaking star. Coming off of “Top Gun” and “The Color of Money,” Cruise ensured financial success but also drastically changed the direction of what became a bottle flipping bonanza of unintentional comedy.

As co-star Bryan Brown put it, “The studio made the changes to protect the star and it became a much slighter movie because of it." So how did Cruise turn “Cocktail” from a story about ‘80s excess into slam poetry at TGIFs? Read on for the behind-the-scenes stories of “Cocktail.”

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You don't cast Tom Cruise to play a failure. oracleoftime

The Book To Movie “Lost In Translation”

“Cocktail” was based on a novel by Heywood Gould of the same name. Gould, who just so happened to work as a bartender while supporting his struggling writing career, pictured a very different protagonist while adapting his work into a screenplay:

"I was in my late 30s, and I was drinking pretty good, and I was starting to feel like I was missing the boat. The character in the book is an older guy who has been around and starting to feel that he's pretty washed-up.” He envisioned a "38-year-old weirdo in a field jacket with greasy, graying hair hanging over his collar, his blue eyes streaked like the red sky at morning."