Tom Cruise Delivers Mid-Air 'Top Gun' Thank You to Fans: 'The Honor of a Lifetime'

Tom Cruise never stops surprising and showing appreciation to his fans. While there's plenty of rumor and criticism that follows Cruise around in life, he's shifted his career a bit in the past decade to keep the focus on the movies. And with that, he puts everything into what goes on the screen, including doing as many of the wild stunts and extreme activities himself.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw this play out in real-time as Cruise held to the release of Top Gun: Maverick in theaters and went to extremes to keep the set of Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning free of the virus. This didn't always work, and Cruise apparently got kinda heated at one point, but the film is coming and it has been split into parts now.

The bottom line on both projects seems to be a victory for Cruise, as Top Gun: Maverick became the biggest movie of 2022 after being on the shelf for years due to the pandemic. That and the importance put on Mission: Impossible's production makes its budget woes seem ancient.

To celebrate the end of the year, show off the latest filming for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2 (or 22 according to Cruise in the clip). He shot a message from above South Africa alongside director Christopher McQuarrie. He starts his thank you to fans hanging from the side of a chopper, speaks to McQuarrie a bit, and then falls backward to the ground below, camera in hand.

"I didn't want the year to end without thanking you all for coming out to the theaters, and thank you for supporting Top Gun: Maverick," Cruise says. "As always, thank you for allowing us to entertain you. It truly is the honor of a lifetime. I'm running out of altitude, so I've got to get back to work. We've got to get this shot. You have a very safe and happy holiday. We'll see you at the movies."

Maverick earned $718 million domestically and $1.4 billion worldwide. And that's without China's box office in the mix. It sits atop the ranking, besting Jurassic World: Dominion, all of Marvel and DC's offerings, and seems poised to share high spots with Avatar: The Way of Water, which is already at number ten with $134 million domestically and $434 million worldwide.