The west coast’s latest news is the break-even box office of Mission Impossible III, and how it has broken Tom Cruise's ties to Paramount. According to various (read reliable) reports, even though MI III made about 400 million dollars, the movie was a box office failure. Why? Because by the time Tom was paid and the cost of production subtracted, the studio made almost no money on the film. It would have had to gross in the $900 million to one billion dollar range to be considered profitable, i.e., successful. As I sat watching the news, the statement by one reporter of "weirdness abuse" caught my attention.
That reporter's meltdown reference is to Cruise's well-known Oprah couch-jumping incident. But it's likely such behavior is now having its effect on his career and may have single-handedly propelled his career into deceleration. Then there was the Brooke Shields admonition incident, in which Shields' use of anti-depressive medication to recover from an episode of post-partum depression was called “irresponsible” by Cruise because she did not know enough about the long-term effects of those medicines. Do doctors even know this information? Why the high tone? This is what has everyone wondering, and calling him a victim, not of his success, but of Scientology.
I know a little about cults and religions after having been a part of many in the past. My view agrees with the dictionary definition: If there is a charismatic figure involved, people following his or her lead unquestionably, giving away fortunes, cutting off friends and family, then the organization in question might be a cult. Even the Catholic Church has been so called by many cult-watchers. This would then paint both Tom and Mel with the same brush.