There is no doubt Tom Cruise has really hurt his career with the decisions he has made over the past couple of years. I am not referring to him as a scientologist or his relationship with Katie Holmes. I am referring to the way he has acted in reference to those two subjects. However, the recent announcement by Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone seems a bit harsh and personal to be considered a business-only decision.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news, which was picked up across the web as Viacom owned Paramount Pictures has decided to end its 14-year relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions and Tom Cruise altogether.
The first quote comes from Redstone who told WSJ, “It’s nothing to do with his acting ability, he’s a terrific actor… But we don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot.”
Wow! So Tom Cruise has basically been kicked off the Paramount lot! Paramount will not renew their deal with Cruise/Wagner, a deal that in recent years paid up to $10 million a year to develop films and operate an office on the Paramount lot.
Next we come to quote #2 from Redstone, “As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal… His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.” Sorry, I gotta say it seems more personal, especially when you publicly say someone has committed “creative suicide.” While it may be true I don’t think it is his place to say such things.
Rumors had been abound that the deal may actually be renewed, but apparently that wasn’t the case according to Cruise’s partner Paula Wagner who even challenged Redstone’s statements saying that the production company had in fact “set up an independent operation financed by two top hedge funds,” a move that will apparently create a “new business model for top actors prominent enough to take advantage of the flood of money coming into Hollywood from Wall Street.”
There is no doubt the failure of Mission: Impossible III is the major catalyst of the collapse of the relationship seeing how Redstone “estimates that Mr. Cruise’s behavior cost the movie between $100 million and $150 million in ticket sales.” I have a feeling had M:I III made the money Paramount expected this renegotiation would have gone a different way.
Once the latest production deal expired Paramount did in fact put forth an offer, an offer that said the deal needed to approach Brad Pitt’s Plan B deal, which is about $2 million plus a $500,000 discretionary fund each year according to The Journal.
So there you have it. Cruise/Wagner is going independent and Paramount won’t be working with Tom anytime soon. It is the parting of a long relationship, but it doesn’t really come as much of a surprise.