Last night it was revealed that Paramount Pictures has ended it’s long relationship with Tom Cruise and producer partner Paula Wagner. It has been reported that Paramount Chief Brad Grey and Cruise/Wagner were in negotiations for restructuring their deal (downwards), and most expected them to come to a deal. Now it appears that Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone (pictured with Cruise: right) has stepped in and cut off all talks and sent Cruise packing. Paula Wagner isn’t going down without a fight and has fired back regarding how much cash Cruise has brought in to the Paramount family, stated they have been responsible for 15% of revenue since they were brought on board. She also cited bringing in JJ Abrams to the Paramount family. Abrams’ work with Cruise and Wagner on Mission Impossible 3 convinced Paramount they wanted him for the long term; recently signing him to a 5 year deal with Star Trek XI as his first film. But it appears that Cruise’s antics are just too much for Redstone who took the unusual step of commenting on his reasons:
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
It would also appear that this marks the end of the Mission Impossible franchise. JJ Abrams 3rd entry to the franchise has earned the least of the 3 but still brought in $400 million worldwide and is expected to bring in another $200 million in home sales. It appears that Redstone is blaming Cruise (and clearly not Abrams) for the film not topping $500 or more as they may have expected. It has also been reported that although the budget was $150, Cruises extremely lucrative deal may make it almost impossible to do much more than break even. So a MI4 film is probably not in JJ Abrams future.
UPDATE: Not so fast…is MI4 Possible?