The Cruise canning: A post-mortem

104846__tom_l_1Hey, guess what? Sumner Redstone watches Oprah! Or maybe the Viacom CEO had some other way of finding out about Tom Cruise’s year of wacktastic performance art — I hear he has a couple of media holdings. Anyhoo, he didn’t like what he saw on the 43,000 Matrix-ish screens in his office on the 376th floor*: Not Cruise’s “recent conduct,” not the underperforming grosses on Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 3, and, ultimately, not the sweet production deal Cruise has maintained with the Viacom-owned ‘Mount for 14 years. Redstone says he didn’t renew Cruise’s contract; Cruise (via producing partner Paula Wagner) says he left willingly to set up independent financing, a longtime goal. (Gosh, isn’t it everybody’s longtime goal to abandon a guaranteed stream of seed money for an ad-hoc consortium of as-yet-unnamed hedge funds?)

Of course, maybe it’s all been by-design. Face plants are funny, and (as you’ll see in the link above) Cruise may now be going the comedy route with Judd Apatow, writer-director of The 40-Year Old Virgin. Maybe he’s just been rehearsing for The 44-Year-Old Out-of-Work Actor. Maybe he’s having a Jerry Maguire moment.

But when the dust clears, a few questions remain: Was ol’ Sumner right to bring the hammer down? Did Cruise’s behavior affect your choices at the box office this summer? Did you avoid the best-made blockbuster of the summer (in this blogger’s opinion) because you found Cruise suddenly distasteful and didn’t want to line his pockets? And most important, is that attitude permanent? Or, given a period of Cruise quietude, will you return to loving his outer Cruise-ness and dismissing his inner kwaziness?

(*accessible only by man-eating pterodactyl; do not attempt to visit)

addCredit(“Tom Cruise: Chris Jackson/Getty Images”)

Comments (47 total) Add your comment
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  • David

    Plain and simple: Tom Cruise killed his own air of mystery.
    People weren’t jumping for joy with him because they felt assaulted by this classic case of Too Much Information. It was too much Katie, too much Scientology, and too many Science lessons (“Matt, Matt… you’re glib.”)
    Truth is, Tom deserves the success and acclaim he’s garnered thus far. But I think for a moment he felt invincible and, as he’s finding out, that’s definitely not the case.
    By the way, M:I:3 was goooooood.

  • Bill

    I’ve never understood the Cruise appeal. I’ve seen several of his films, tho, and usually because he selects the top filmmakers to work with. I saw RAINMAN for Dustin Hoffman, MI3 for JJ Abrams, etc. I’ve never totally suspended my disbelief when watching him play a character because his skills alternate on 2 gears: pseudo serious and pseudo cocky. And now Apatow is hailing Cruise’s comic abilities? Geez…his attempts in JERRY MAGUIRE were embarrassing. I want Hollywood to get away from the Cruise types and once again make great movies with great actors. Is that too much to ask? Maybe Paramount is on to something.

  • Jakeem

    There was a recent view that the biggest names in Hollywood were Tom, Tom and Julia. Are we down to just Tom now?

  • EP Sato

    Cruise’s behavior had gotten a little out of wack lately, and the Mission Impossible movies were looking more and more narcissistic as he went on. Still, who fires an actor who brings in $100 million for a movie that performs “poorly”? There must have been more behind that than Cruise’s erratic behavior. Maybe the backlash against the “church” of Scientology has begun?

  • kts

    Haven’t seen MI:3 but to be fair I didn’t like the first two MIs so it wasn’t going to happen anyway. Nonetheless, I’m TomKat’ed out and won’t be watching anything he does. Kinda sucks because I used to enjoy Top Gun and now I can’t watch it.

  • ryan

    See, in my opinion, Cruise really does have all the right moves. Pour me a cocktail, Mr. Cruise. Your collateral’s worth at least another $100 million. Mine might be the minority report, but in my experience, Hollywood’s always looking for a few good men. Some might think you’re losin’ it, but being one of the outsiders won’t make you forget the color of money. Trust me, man.

  • Jane

    I’ve never liked Tom Cruise. Sure I liked Rainman, but that was in spite of him. I usually find the guy unpalatable and I didn’t go to MI:3 because he was in it. Although my sister really recommended the movie, I just couldn’t stand to give him $10 when he thinks he knows more about psychology than the experts, more about birthing than women, and won’t tolerate people who think differently. What a pig!
    You can’t blame Paramount for dumping him. They have to watch the bottom line for the sake of their other, non-crazy employees. Protecting Tom Cruise’s ego is not a responsible way to do business.

  • Lynn

    Yes, 100 million dollars is a lot of gross for an average movie but for one that had a budget of about that much not to mention the astonomical budget for marketing (jumping out of planes, trains and automobiles), it was disappointing to say the least. Plus him throwing out threats of not doing publicity if they didn’t pull that episode of SouthPark mocking him and scientology (hilarious by the way) probably didn’t sit well with them either. I guess they figured they woudl make him and his increasing bizarre behavior someone else’s problem.

  • GeeMoney

    I pretty much saw MI3 because of J.J. Abrams. Tom Cruise, who was once so calm, cool and collected has turned out to be an ultimate wack job.
    He should have never left Nicole Kidman. I swear to god, that was the turning point where he started to slide downhill.

  • Lauren

    Yes, I’ve found that I can’t sit still and watch Tom Cruise (and others, like Russell Crowe) who have made such public spectacles of themselves in offensive (and in Crowe’s case violent) ways. I know one is supposed to separate “art” from “artist,” but I cannot bring myself to spend money on these people who appear to have forgotten how to behave, and treat others, in public. How many of us would get fired for exhibiting Cruise’s behavior? Shouldn’t celebrities be held to the same standards as us “regular people?”

  • cackey

    lots of celebs are weird- why should that affect our ability to be entertained by them? mission impossible III was just plain.old-fashioned entertaining. it was actually the best of the 3 MI movies. what’s not to like about explosions, chase scenes, and good vs. evil? unless you are just plain anti-entertainment.

  • Stephanie

    He looks like his cousin (aka creepy Ethan) in that picture.

  • Jess

    I just find him creepy, after the whole TomKat/mystery baby thing, and his views on psychology and anti-depressants are downright offensive.
    I was watching War of the Worlds on cable the other night, and every time Tom’s character snapped, I just kept thinking, “That’s not acting! He really is crazy!”
    I’m glad Paramount dumped him! For one thing, we’ll probably get to see more hilariously desperate/crazy publicity stunts. No doubt the folks of late night comedy will have a field day with this!

  • glimmertwins

    MI:3 I didn’t see it, didn’t want to see it. Why, you ask? Two words: Tom.kat. All props to Sumner Redstone who, instead of bowing to The Actor Previously Known As Tom Cruise’s pressure (Comedy Channel re:”South Park” anyone?)he’s lowered the boom, instead. Hit ‘em where it hurts, baby, right in the mighty cash stream.
    And, BTW, I very much want to drop in on 376th floor. I say damn the man-eating pterodon (no longer pterodactyl, Scott, per the Museum of Natural History), full speed ahead!

  • JL

    That picture is HORRIFYING! He looks completely deranged. I love it.

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