Even today, with movies like Avengers: Endgame and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice dominating the multiplexes, studios tend to blanch at a $200 million production budget. But when you have a leading man like Tom Cruise and a hook like filming in zero gravity, apparently that's enough to get the studio suits to open up their pocketbooks, because Deadline is reporting that Cruise's upcoming film from executive producer Chris McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible - Fallout) and director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), which is set to be filmed partially in space, has earned a $200 million commitment from Universal.
Considering the project, that's a bargain basement price. It might be that they're working very economically, or it could be that SpaceX is helping them with their budget, since Elon Musk is a big supporter of the idea. In either case, the as-yet-untitled movie is now set to begin pre-production with a cash commitent to getting it made.
In addition to the Mission: Impossible franchise, McQuarrie directed Cruise in the forthcoming Top Gun: Maverick, which will be released in 2021, after being pushed back repeatedly in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The director is set to return for the next two Mission: Impossible films, with those reportedly being Cruise's final outings as Ethan Hunt.
With SpaceX and other private corporations looking to profit from space travel, the question of when a major corporation would shoot a movie in space has come up a number of times, usually with the risk-taking Cruise or the utterly bananas Fast and the Furious franchise at the center of the speculation, since they just feel like the most obvious candidates for such a thing.
The film still has no title and likely will have to be filmed after the next pair of Mission: Impossible movies, meaning that Cruise would be sixty before he could blast off. It's also likely that the movie would require a lot of long sequences and very few takes, since any mistakes or reshoots could potentially cost a fortune. It has huge potential upside as a tentpole/spectacle movie, though; compare the gimmick of shooting in space with James Cameron finally mastering realistic-looking 3D for Avatar and how effectively that gimmick helped sell the movie to casual fans who went on to make it one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
We'll keep you updated on Tom Cruise's as-yet-untitled "Space Movie" as we hear more.