By now, the Tom Cruise/Paramount split is well known and documented.
Instead of exhaustedly discussing the details of the split and explaining exactly why Cruise's image has everything to do with his paychecks, this reporter is going to show you some headlines:
"Cruise isn't just weird, he's scary" — David Wischnowsky, Chicago Tribune Aug. 23.
First comment on that article:
"I think Tom Cruise is a total nut case! He is also NOT a good actor. He constantly plays 'Maverick' in all of his roles, there is no diversity."
"Tom Cruise's Popularity Rating Plummets" — WLNS TV 6, Aug. 24, discussing Cruise's 40 percent drop in "Q Score," which is used to measure popularity and marketability.
"Paramount Pictures Severs Ties With Tom Cruise" — Fox News, Aug. 23.
"Tom Cruise Guilty of "Weirdness Abuse?" — Blogcritics, Aug 24.
"Cruise split highlights deeper issues" — CNN/Associated Press, Aug 24.
"Take that, Tom" — Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug 24.
These headlines speak for themselves. This is not the press or publicity that a Hollywood leading man should be bringing upon himself.
First of all, nobody cares more about religion in Hollywood than Tom Cruise does. Correction: no one cares about religion in Hollywood except Tom Cruise. For 100 years, Jews, Christians, Catholics, and a dozen other religions have been represented in Hollywood and religious themes have been seen in movies for years. However, this is usually kept on screen. While Cruise is to perhaps be admired for sticking to his principles, his staunch advocacy for Scientology is irrelevant. Scientology is a mysterious religion. Cruise invites South Park-style criticism and tasteless humor.
There's another issue here that I think needs addressing, from a general standpoint. Mission Impossible III brought in close to $400 million and barely broke even. Clearly, distaste for Cruise contributed to what were lower than expected earnings. However, how can anyone plan for the third movie in a ten-year-old trilogy that has gotten less popular every year to gross over half a billion dollars? This isn't 1996 anymore. Paramount has no one to blame but Paramount for spending almost $400 million making Mission Impossible III.
Cruise's image problems will only continue to get worse unless he makes a concerted attempt to rectify the situation. In a world where most celebrities struggle to keep some aspects of their life private, Cruise and family expose too much. Even in hiding their baby from the public eye, Cruise and Holmes have created a firestorm of publicity.
People tend to do one of two things with something they don't understand or aren't allowed to know about: find out about it by any means necessary or poke fun at it.
Neither scenario sells tickets.