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Paramount Ends Deal with Tom Cruise

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It is amazing to see just how far Tom Cruise has fallen in recent times. In the past, he had his divorce from Nicole Kidman in the papers, but that never seemed quite as intense and destructive to his career. Since the media tour for War of the Worlds, everything has seemingly gone downhill. He went crazy talking about Scientology, which led to a very public argument with Brooke Shields and a now-famous soundclip of him calling Matt Lauer "glib." Then, he seemingly lost his mind with the whole Katie Holmes relationship, subsequent pregnancy, and now the big wait to see if this baby exists.

I don't really care all that much about this story. I think Scientology is kind of funny. I thought the "glib" comment was kind of funny. I couldn't possibly care less about the Tom Cruise baby thing. The business side of things, on the other hand, is quite interesting to me.

Viacom chairman, Sumner Redstone, had this to say:

"It's nothing to do with his acting ability, he's a terrific actor," said Mr. Redstone. "But we don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot."


"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Mr. Redstone said. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Basically, what Redstone seems to be saying is that Cruise has lost his heat as a box office draw, and it is largely his own fault for getting himself into precarious public situations. Now I know War of the Worlds wasn't the highest grossing movie ever, but the IMDB has it making just under $234 million at the box office on a budget of around $132 million. I believe those budget numbers don't include marketing and advertising totals, but even if you add $100 million to the budget for marketing and advertising, the movie would have had to have been profitable with international receipts as well as cable and DVD.

And did you see the movie? The effects were great. The story was "eh". I wonder what kind of profit they were expecting? Do you really think a less volatile Tom Cruise makes a movie make more money?

Mission Impossible 3 did worse than War of the Worlds, but it wasn't a complete bomb. The estimated budget for MI3 was estimated at $150 million and, to date, it has grossed just under $134 million domestically. I know they were expecting big things from it, movie, but it probably will at least break even, right?

While the studio expects serious profitability from its relationships with supposed superstars, there has to be something else going on. These last two movies wouldn't seem to be enough to sever ties with a guy with a track record like Cruise's. This leads me to believe there might be some other stuff going on. Do you think maybe Cruise is difficult to work with? Or is it really this quick and easy for the studio to decide Cruise isn't worth the trouble?

Regardless, I think I have the best idea for Cruise's career. I hope the slide continues for a couple of more years and then we get a blockbuster Tom Cruise movie from Quentin Tarantino as a vehicle to revive Cruise's career.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Mistress La Spliffe

    “War of the Worlds” and the “Mission: Impossible” series were already strong, recognizable brands on their own. Any half-decent, half-hot A-list actor in the lead of projects like that would have been the lead in a smash hit, if the marketing was half-decent and the effects good enough.

    The thing with Tom Cruise, however, isn’t only that the roles he chose could so easily be filled by any A-list actor. In addition, he’s aging, too expensive, and actually alienating parts of his audience who can’t suspend their disbelief in front of his acting anymore because of distraction and discomfort with his religion and ethics.

    He never made himself indispensable with his talent or appeal and now he’s making himself unattractive. The business side makes perfect sense, even if he was a dream to work with and gave b.j.’s to every member of the cast and crew of his projects.

  • Michael J. West

    If you think Tom’s having a rough time right now, wait till Mel Gibson comes up for contract renewal!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yeah…Hmmm, I wouldn’t mention Mr. Tarantino just yet. The movie he made with Johnny Knoxville was a Tim Burton wannabe that was shallow & boring.
    I’m not too worried about Mr. Gibson or Mr. Cruise, especially nowadays, they probably have had their hands in other business ventures to make up for the lost capital.
    I see this as an opportunity for Jim Carrey to get the credit he deserves…Maybe a Taratino & Carrey Film!?!

  • Craig Lyndall

    The thing about Mel Gibson is that he has all the money he could ever need to produce his own projects like he did with The Passion. As long as that remains the case, he can continue to make mistakes.

  • DrPat

    At $234 million, Tom’s take (25% of gross, not net) is $58.5 million, and the studio’s take (out of which they need to pay for marketing and distribution, etc.) is a disappointing figure. And that’s with a blockbuster that did well — you can certainly understand why they might be unwilling to keep giving the now-less-than-golden boy such a big bite.

  • for-too-oooh

    tom’s da bomb. why y’all dissing him like this? u jess jelous cuz he’s such a hot stud ladies’ man. as u know, like many other celebs (magic johnson and mike piazza, for examp), he has been plagued thru-out his career by bogus maternity suits from all the hot babes he loved-n-left and now want some of his $$$. now his studio is dumping his ass and u guyz r kickin him while he’s down. shame shame, be kind

  • Empress408

    I’m glad to see him lose his contract–now he’ll have to rest on talent. The only movie I ever noticed he did any acting in was ‘Magnolia’. Maybe now he’ll have to go to work. After insulting and being such a medical know-it-all lately, maybe he needed a little humble pie. I think a lot of actors need to get their paychecks in line. Hollywood is becoming the new “drug cartel” of the 21st century. Too much time and money on their hands. It’s embarassing as an American citizen.

  • Pete Sampras

    The official version is: Cruise wagner society ended the contract with paramount, just paramount made it public.

    By other hand, the guy is the most profitable actor in the world, its just interesting the people atacking him for being scientologist or make a show in tv, like or not hes the most powerful actor alive.

    This paramount vs cruise tramoy is just picking high his carrier. And i think you are smart enough to know than his carrier/business is not the acting , but the economical.

  • Ian Woolstencroft

    Paramount haven’t had a worldwide top 10 box office hit that didn’t star Tom Cruise since 2000 when What Women Want finished fourth for the year (and that years No1 film? Mission Impossible II.)

    In fact their performance has been terrible. Excluding Cruise’s films, their best in recent years based on worldwide buisness –
    2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider No15
    2002 The Sum Of All Fears No24
    2003 How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days No29
    2004 Lemony Snicket’s No18
    2005 The Longest Yard No12

    What makes Paramount’s case even funnier is that War of the Worlds (a film they pointed to as having its box office takings affected by Cruise) had a worldwide gross of almost $600m making it Paramount’s biggest hit (based on money taken)since 1997 and Titanic.

    Paramount needed Cruise far more than Cruise needed them. A major studo needs to score a top 10 hit and without Cruise Paramount have failed to do that.

  • cat

    I’m hoping Nutter-Butters Cruise continues his fade into obscurity and decides to give up public life in favor of quiet contemplation in one of the Scientology compounds.