Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Paramount Ends Relationship with Cruise

Source: Comingsoon.net

Variety confirmed today that Paramount Pictures is ending its 14-year relationship with Tom Cruise's production company, Cruise/Wagner Productions. Cruise and Paula Wagner will be exiting the studio as they forge ahead with plans to create an independently financed production company. Wagner told the trade that Cruise/Wagner is in discussions with several distributors to find a home for their films, which will be self-financed.

The move comes after months of speculation about the future of their Paramount-based company as the Aug. 31 expiration of their current contract approached. Negotiations said that talks were still underway as of a few days ago, however Paramount executives didn't feel they could reach final terms they were comfortable with.

The current Paramount regime, led by chairman Brad Grey, was hoping to cut back on Cruise/Wagner's overall deal, long known as one of the most expensive production pacts in town.

Viacom Inc. (parent company of Paramount) Chairman Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal that they were not renewing the deal because of his off-screen behavior. "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone said. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

On the flip side, however, Wagner said that setting up an independent production company "is a dream of Tom and mine." She challenged Redstone's assertion that Cruise's behavior had cost the studio ticket sales, pointing out that the star's movies have made the studio a huge amount of money.