Whose Run Was Better? ’92-’96: Tom Cruise vs Tom Hanks

This is the first piece in a series I’m currently calling “Whose Run was Better?”(better title forthcoming, I hope). The premise is to look at two actors and their respective film runs. Most of the time, the time periods for two actors does not line up. HOWEVER, sometimes, if we’re lucky enough, two great actors put together the greatest runs of their careers AT THE SAME TIME. To that end, I present the following:

Without looking at IMDB.com, who do you think had a better run from 1992 to 1996: Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks?

Tom Cruise Filmography 1992-1996

A Few Good Men (1992) 

The Firm (1993)

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Mission: Impossible (1996)

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Tom Hanks Filmography 1992-1996

A League of Their Own (1992)

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Philadelphia (1993)

Forrest Gump (1994)

Toy Story (1995)

Apollo 13 (1995)

That Thing You Do (1996)

BREAK IT DOWN!

What a time to be alive! These two Hollywood heavyweights going blow for blow for 5 years. Neither run has any duds during this time. But, Cruise did two less movies. Hanks was an absolute machine.

So, how do we determine which run was better? We compare box office totals, awards, ratings, and rewatchability.

First looking at the box office totals, it breaks down as follows:

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Looking at this from a strictly financial point of view, Hanks wins outright with 7 total films totaling over 1.033 BILLION box office. Cruise did almost 740 Million for his five films. Buuuut, if you average the total gross of each film, Cruise gains a slight edge: $147,977,520 to Hanks’ $147,629,288, according to boxofficemojo.com. For the sake of the argument, this one goes to Hanks.

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However, we should also consider future box office as both stars spawned franchises during their runs. Cruise with Mission: Impossible and Hanks with Toy Story.

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Cruise has released a total of 6 Mission: Impossible releases over a 22-year period, grossing over 2.5 billion at the box office. Hanks has released 3 Toy Story movies, with a 4th still on the way. The total box office for the Toy Story franchise is right at 853 million. Point: Cruise.

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Next, we need to look at the Academy Awards each actor won during the course of their run. Here’s how it looks:

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Hanks is the clear winner in this category. Going back to back with Best Actor nods is as impressive as it gets.

But what about the overall quality of these movies? For that, we turn to rottentomatoes.com. As shown in the list below, Hanks lands the top 3 spots with Toy Story, Apollo 13, and That Thing You Do. Cruise rounds out the top 5 with Jerry Maguire and A Few Good Men. Unfortunately for Cruise, he has the two lowest rated films on the list, with Interview and Mission: Impossible. All in all, Hanks averaged an overall rating of 84%, with Cruise coming in at 73%. Edge: Hanks.Hanks is the clear winner of this category, going back to back with Best Actor nods for Philadelphia & Forrest Gump.

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You also need to consider rewatchability with these films, which is strictly based on opinion, in my opinion. So, In my opinion, A Few Good Men ranks the highest as the most rewatchable movie in this category, followed closely by Jerry Maguire. But, those are the only Cruise flick on this list that I will always watch if it happens to be on cable. There are 4 Hanks movies in this run that I can say that about (League, Sleepless, Toy Story, TTYD). Edge: Hanks.

So, whose the winner?

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Despite the success of the Mission: Impossible franchise and the fact that A Few Good Men remains the most rewatchable movie by either actor, Hanks is the clear winner. While Cruise made some memorable films, Hanks churned out some of the most iconic movies in cinema history during this run. I can’t think of a more successful film run in history that could go toe to toe with ‘92-’96 Hanks.

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