Photo: Han Myung-Gu (Getty Images)

According to a new groundbreaking study from some of the top minds in the entertainment industry (read: a guy at Rotten Tomatoes), there is a direct and irrefutable correlation between the number of feet Tom Cruise runs in a particular film and the success of said film. Now, before any naysayers butt in with their so-called “evidence” to the contrary, we’d like to remind them that this is backed by science and, therefore, it must be true. But, just for a bit of fun, let’s see how the researchers came to this conclusion.

First, one must calculate how far Tom Cruise runs in any given film. By assuming the veteran actor is sprinting at a 6-minute mile pace, you can estimate the distance he runs by simply counting how many seconds he’s running on screen. This, as Rotten Tomatoes notes, is the “time-consuming” part. Why? Well, to put it bluntly: Tom Cruise runs a shitload.

But once you’ve got the hard data, you can compare those numbers to the Tomatometer score and worldwide gross of each film. The results reveal some interesting trends. For example, movies in which Tom Cruise doesn’t run at all average a lower box office turnout than the rest of his oeuvre, even if the average critical reception of those films is buoyed by standouts like Magnolia and Tropic Thunder. This proves that, while Cruise can certainly churn out a good performance when he’s simply walking or pacing with determination, it’s maybe not what audiences are clamoring to see.

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When he runs a lot, on the other hand, people throw their money at him. The 1,000+ feet category consists of films like Minority Report (1,562 ft), War Of The Worlds (1,752 ft), and the later installments in the Mission: Impossible franchise, peaking with the astounding 3,212 feet he ran in Mission: Impossible 3. Most of these films, with the exception of the second Jack Reacher movie and the Mummy reboot, were financial and critical successes, bringing the box office average for the whole category to $538 million and the Tomatometer score to a solid 71%.

The most surprising thing about this report is that, it seems, as Tom Cruise gets older the more he runs around in his damn movies. Using a little extrapolation, we can therefore predict that Tom Cruise’s highest grossing, most successful film will be the uncut footage of him running a marathon that he’ll release when he’s 80 years old. Again, this is just science.

You can read the full, stunning report here.

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