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.