Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tom Cruise Fallout

The New York Daily News bizarrely describes Tom Cruise's $100 mil kitty for making movies as "whopping." Hardly, since that would pay for about half a film. CNN wrongly buys into Paramount's spin that the studio is reacting to Tom Cruise's off-screen behavior rather than making a pure money decision. They also quote a guy who says Cruise has never had a failure, which means he's probably not familiar with "Legend," "Far and Away," "Eyes Wide Shut" or "Vanilla Sky" -- all of which reinforces the fact that Tom Cruise is a huge star. These movies underperformed or even lost money, but no one lost their shirt on them. Still, saying he's never had a critical and commercial failure just isn't true. The Hollywood Reporter blames slowing DVD sales, ignoring the fact that DVD sales are a relatively new revenue stream that has literally tripled the amount of money studios make off movies from 25 years ago. Back then you just had movie and tv sales, now you have a growing overseas box office, and a DVD market that's about twice as big as the box office. So it's not maintaining its torrid pace -- DVDs are still a huge plus. The LA Times focuses on money, making clear that is all this is about. It says Cruise earned some $80 mil for "Mission: Impossible III," which sounds pretty reasonable since the film will gross more than $600 mil when all is said and done. If Paramount can't make a profit off of grossing $520 mil from one movie, their star is not the problem. And everyone who says the movie underperformed because it made less than the first two: duh, that's what the second sequel in a franchise almost always does -- they cost more and make less. But the LAT is right this is only about money.

Here's the bottom line: we should be discussing how Paramount failed to keep one of the biggest stars in the world happy. Tom Cruise has left Paramount. Instead of talking about how they could let this happen (it certainly wasn't over a production shingle costing $3 mil to $10 mil a year), they've got us discussing Scientology, which lets Paramount pretend they took the moral high ground instead of screwing up mightily. You can draw a line in the sand on massive gross participation; you should just do it without alienating your top star and making other actors wary of working with you.

6 comments:

priv8pete said...

Lay off of Far and Away; I love that flick! Boxing, mobs, a duel, historical settings and Nicole Kidman in a burlesque outfit - what more could you ask for?!?

Ed Sikov said...

Your analysis is right on target, Michael, except that I don't see how anyone can view Paramount as "taking the high moral ground" by firing a star over his religion. I'm no longer a Cruise fan (though the underwear dance in RISKY BIZ remains a favorite), and I detest Scientology. Still, I suspect that many other Americans will react poorly to any perceived religious discrimination.

sftom said...

I think most Americans view Scientology as a cult or in the least as a strange group of people but not a religion.

Michael in New York said...

Priv8pete, I think Far and Away is a harmless piece of hokum -- but it was still a box office disappointment. Ed, I think you're right that I'm right:) Also, Risky Business was a VERY important movie in my uh burgeoning awareness. I've actually read a lot about and of Scientology during my years as a fact checker. I certainly don't detest it -- don't forget there are young people today whose parents and grandparents are Scientologists, it's no odder to them than Mormonism. (Mind you, I think I'd guess right in believing you despise the virulently anti-gay Mormons as well. It's hard for me to wrap my head around a religion with a pricetag -- even though there are plenty of temples where you are expected to pay for s seat of prominence on High Holy Days or churches where you must tithe 10%. Even though the US gov't has recognized Scientology as a religion for tax purposes, I think sftom is quite right that almost no one outside of fellow Scientologists will see Paramount's actions as religious intolerance. They think of it as an odd cult or detest it too. Besides, Ed if you went clear you wouldn't be gay anymore! Isn't that what you're really scared of? It doesn't "cure" you, mind, they just say no one who is clear is gay. L. Ron not to fond of the gays, by the way.

Michael in New York said...

Wouldn't this be fun if it paid the bills?

Ed Sikov said...

I may not be clear about everything, but I'm definitely clear on several things: Scientology, the Mormons, the Catholics, much of Islam, the Satmars, etc. - all are freaky cults and should be distrusted. I'm also clear that a hairy well-muscled 25 year old man's torso is the most erotic thing I can imagine, and no, I'm not giving up such obviously God-given beauty for Scientology.