Risky Business

Did Tom Cruise really get kicked out of his studio for bad behaviour?

When Cruise dropped his long time publicist and discovered he loved the media and really, really, loved Katie Holmes, I hopped right on his crazy train. Here was an actor that had assiduously created the persona of an old-style A-lister. People called him the hardest-working man in showbiz and his image remained squeaky clean, even during his divorce to Nicole Kidman. Anyone who dared speculate about his sexuality in print found a hail of lawyers raining down upon them.

Once Tom found Katie, all of that changed. Soon there wasn’t a camera he didn’t love and the formerly reserved actor’s appearance on Oprah spawned the phrase "Jumped the couch." He publicly feuded with Brooke Shields about post-partum depression and the use of drugs and called psychiatry a Nazi science. Scientology, which he’d long been an adherent, began to play a more open role in his life. People called him crazy and the label started to stick as rumours swirled around Holmes’ pregnancy, the birth of Suri and TomKat's subsequent media aversion.

It all came to a head this week when Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom (Paramount Picture's parent company) publicly kicked the superstar to curb. "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," Redstone said. "It's nothing to do with his acting abilities. He's a terrific actor. But we don't think that someone who effectuates career suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot."

Career suicide? While Redstone claims Cruise's antics may have hurt the box office take of Mission: Impossible III by as much as $150 million, the film is still expected to bring in $400-million worldwide. Cruise has been working with Paramount for 14 years and his most recent films have averaged around $100 million each.

I’ll admit that Cruise has been off the rails, but has it really been that detrimental? It’s been fun blogging material and he is incredibly off base about psychiatry, but who was going to take his opinions seriously in the first place? Was being hummingbird excited on Oprah so terrible? Maybe M:I3 sales were down because nobody was really looking for a sequel and John Woo’s M:I2 sucked (there, I said it).

Clearly this was about money and the obscene amount of it that Cruise was getting before the studio got its taste. Which is fine – it’s called show business and cold, hard cash talks. I don’t see why the studio need to hide its reasoning behind such a flimsy excuse as Cruise’s antics. Mel Gibson’s recent drunken racist rant didn’t get him cut off by the studio putting out Apocalypto, and it is Disney no less. They obviously believe he’s still an earner so they are turning a blind eye. If Cruise could still make studios billions, he could jump on as many couches as he liked.


  1. I think it is TOTALLY about the fact that he is making more off the movies than studio is. The argument is: why should the people who are taking the risk investing 9 figures in a movie make less than someone who merely appears in them.

    And it is a valid argument.

    But I think that his behavior is also part of this equation, as losing so much off a potentially huge payoff because the star decides to talk about other things in his appearances than the movie he is there to promote could be galling.

    I also wouldn't be surprised to see Mel Gibson and Disney part ways after their current project(as Disney was probably already heavily involved financially in the movie, so it is in their best interest to try to see it through). If I remember correctly, Gibson's long in pre-production miniseries on the Holocaust was going to appear on the Disney-owned ABC network and that just evaporated after his arrest, didn't it?

  2. Or maybe the studio's smart & saw a way to gain popularity by kicking Tom Cruise to the curb. A lot of people dislike him now & wanted to see something like this happen to him. Eh, I'm really not going to feel bad for any of the millionaires involved here!

  3. I have to agree this is about money. Let's face it, Mission Impossible III was not exactly a box office bonanza. As to whether his behaviour actually plays into any of this, I think one would have to answer whether his behaviour is actually driving audiences away from his movies. I really don't have the answer to that one myself.

  4. Poor Tomkat.....Im sure he will manage to still make some loose change here and there.

    I only wish studios would do the same with paris hilton, lindsay lohan and every other wanna be that we hear to much about. Lets clean it out!

  5. I know Tommy boy will come out of all this just fine, if with a few less millions to throw on the pile.

    Yes Gibson's miniseries did tossed - I imagine the subject matter was just too sensitive to keep him involved, but I don't think the studios have all of a sudden become moral arbiters. If there were money to be had, Mel would still be involved.