Is Twisters About To Tear the Roof Off Summer-Movie Season?

When a dressed-down Tom Cruise made his way to his seat at the European premiere of Twisters on Monday night, buzz rippled through the room of assembled industry pros, journalists, and influencers. A later post from his own X account offered some clarity as to why he showed up for such a relatively casual affair, beside his well-reported love of the movies. He was there to support Glen Powell, the movie’s male lead, who previously played opposite Cruise in their 2022 summer mega-hit — another sequel that no one asked for, which ended up being inexplicably brilliant—Top Gun: Maverick.

In the picture, they stand together, each with a Twisters-themed bucket of popcorn in one hand, and both offer big, glowing smiles. Powell, on the right, grins a little more widely, as if he is being fed currents of electricity by the hand on his shoulder, the starriest wireless charger there is. It’s difficult to read the picture as anything but a symbolic passing of the baton, the world’s biggest movie star placing a big, public bet on his heir apparent. And who are we to disagree with Tom Cruise?

At first glance, Twisters hardly seems like the sort of film to break the box office and launch the world’s newest megawatt star. You might argue that disaster movies have had their day—at least the ones not led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Gerard Butler. And while the ‘90s have become ever-more en vogue and ripe for reappraisal, as with how ‘80s revivalism peaked at the turn of the decade, Twister (1996) never spawned spin-offs, sequels, or the sort of IP affection generated by the two other blockbusters that topped the 1996 box office, Independence Day and Mission: Impossible.

Nevertheless, buzz is spinning up for the new tornado romp. Late June projections put its opening weekend at between $65 and $95 million in the U.S., which would have Twisters somewhere around the mid-tier Marvel movies (2016’s Doctor Strange, for example, took $85 million on its opening weekend). More intangibly, lightning is just starting to form around it. Such was the case with Top Gun: Maverick, after early screenings showed it to be a masterclass in crowd-pleasing mayhem. And though reviews aren’t yet out, early social media reactions suggest a similar consensus: it’s a big, exciting, capital-M Movie, the sort that still has the potential to get butts on seats in droves.

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