Tom Cruise's new mission: Run a studio

15614__cruise_lTake that, Sumner Redstone! Tom Cruise is now a studio mogul, just like you! OK, I’m not saying that today’s announcement — that Cruise and partner Paula Wagner are resurrecting United Artists — is entirely about scoring ego points against the Viacom chief who not only declined to renew Cruise’s Paramount deal but who also continues to dis Cruise in interviews. But surely that has to be part of it. A word of warning, though, to Tom: if you want revenge against the studio chief who kicked you to the curb, become a studio chief yourself is an awfully expensive way to do it; just ask ousted Disney honcho-turned-DreamWorks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose brainchild has now been all-but-absorbed by… Redstone’s Paramount.

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After all, as prestigious as it looks for Cruise to be running the studio launched in 1919 by then-Hollywood royals Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith, there are still some large lingering questions about the UA deal, such as: where’s the money going to come from? Also, what does this mean in the context of last year’s Sony-MGM deal? For a long time, UA has seemed little more than a phantom limb of MGM, which in turn was expected to be absorbed by the Sony borg after last year’s takeover. But if UA rises from the grave and continues to keep MGM viable as a studio with new films to release (not just Hollywood’s biggest back catalog, which is apparently what Sony thought it was buying), then isn’t the tail starting to wag the dog here?

Finally, what kind of movies will UA be releasing via its four-pictures-a-year slate? Cruise himself can’t really star in more than one per year (especially given how much action blockbusters cost), so what’s left? It’s hard to see where UA will be able to afford to make anything other than low-budget, FX-averse, character-driven comedies and dramas. In other words: Tom Cruise — indie filmmaker. Who in Xenu’s name would have imagined that?

Comments (21 total) Add your comment
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  • Sally

    Love that Tom is his own man. now go back to making comedies, darnit!

  • Miles

    Well, i can’t even remember why he turned me off a few months ago, i mean, yes, oprah thing was funny, and the media did go a little over the top (no a lot). But I just caught Mission Impossible III and I thought it was the best one. hmmm, welcome back to my world you brilliant mogul you.

  • snee

    man, that is one fugly picture of cruise!

  • nathan

    Good for him, I’m still surprised that Paramount just disowned him like that, He puts out good movies that make quite a bit of money. They’ll live to regret that decision methinks.

  • aa

    does this mean battlefield earth 2 starring tom, john travolta, and leah remini?

  • Liz

    Let’s see if Cruise and Wagner have the staying power to bring UA back and release not only hits, but solid material. Does the actor have it in him?

  • CaribBelle

    Ok. I’m with Miles. I’m finally starting to forget how annoying he was, but I’m also a little confused by the above analysis. How was getting revenge expensive for Katzenberg? He made a mint when Dreamworks was bought out. Sounds pretty effective to me.

  • Ceballos

    “It’s hard to see where UA will be able to afford to make anything other than low-budget, FX-averse, character-driven comedies and dramas.”
    I agree that this seemed an unlikely place for the man to end up, but after people criticized the peformance of huge-budgeted M:I3, a pretty good movie (with issues in its last third), aren’t these exactly the sort of movies he SHOULD be making?

  • Jasper

    I think being a performer with a pretty pristine record publicly and box office wise he was bound to misstep at some point. Now I’m glad he got that out of the way. I hope that he does do some comedies and try to relax a bit. The mogul thing could work for him with his intelligence and work ethic. Although you know a year or two down the line he’s going to have to do an oscar bait drama. Actually that’s sort of what he needs now. Would it be too much asking for two movies in one year. He does owe us a couple after that whole Kubric thing…….

  • CJ

    Not sure that he has what it takes to run a studio. I for one don’t care to see any of his movies. He killed it for me.

  • Jeff

    Maybe Cruise should consider Shakespeare. I hear he makes a great Bottom.

  • dee

    He feels the need, the need for [more] speed! No really, being a movie star and producer is a lot different than running a studio. Although Cruise’s recent media blunders show that he is not well versed in proper public behavior (sans the public relations person he had for years who he canned right B4 the Katie era), he does have an understanding of what audiences want. Even MI3, a modest hit on Cruise’s scale, is not a flop (we also don’t know whether that had to do more with his public antics or just a bad movie). He knows how to make movies that people want to see. He also has an amazing eye for talent. He always surrounds himself with terrific actors and should be given extra kudos for having a cast that is frequently, ethnically diverse. He is additionally one of few celebs who can guarantee a certain amount of worldwide box office. I took great issue w/ his statements about mental illness (and he lost a bit of my respect as a result) but I’m honest enough to admit that Paramount should be kinda nervous that they unceremoniously dumped one of their stars and that this same driven star now has a big role at a rival studio. Stay tuned…

  • JillyRo

    In an aside..what’s up with that 70s hairdo he’s been sporting lately??! Fugly on him!! Maybe Tommy is trying to look younger for Katie? Plus, is it me or does Tom seem to be porkier? Maybe it’s just those bad skinny jeans he insists on wearing lately.
    As long as he stays away from romance (just don’t buy it) and stays with action (fewer words, I find his range mediocre).

  • Howard

    The “casting couch” is gonna have a whole different meaning over at UA.

  • anna

    JillyRo , please, it’s not usweekly here, so please leave the board, we are talking movies and stars; moviestars :)

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