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Cruise loses studio partner
It was supposed to be a new dawn: a chance for Tom Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner to escape the rigours of the studio system and branch out on their own. But the duo's brief tenure at United Artists has come to an abrupt end with the news that Wagner is leaving to pursue separate projects .
According to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news last night, the move spells the end for the Cruise/Wagner partnership which has been one of the tightest in Hollywood since 1993. Publicly both sides are insisting they will continue to work on projects together.
Wagner and Cruise's arrival to run United Artists in November 2006 was hailed at the time as a huge fillip for the latter's career, which had hit the doldrums after he was dropped by Paramount and dismissed as a spent force following controversy surrounding his relationship with the actor Katie Holmes, his role as a prominent Scientologist and the disappointing box-office performance of several of his recent films, including Mission: Impossible III and The War of the Worlds.
But a project which had started promisingly with Cruise's vow to return the glory days to United Artists, a semi-independent studio which was started in 1919 by four of the biggest figures in film: Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and DW Griffith, now looks to be in tatters.
Cruise remains on board as co-owner, but he has recently been considering projects which have no connection to the studio. He is currently eyeing the comedy Food Fight for Britain's Working Title and is in talks for the spy thriller The Tourist, which has been adapted by the Oscar-winning Brit Julian Fellowes from a 2005 French original.
Those moves follow the failure of the first production from United Artists, the Iraq war polemic Lions for Lambs, to strike a chord with critics or cinemagoers, and the problems surrounding its next, Valkyrie , which features Cruise as the Nazi would-be killer of Hitler. Originally set for an autumn opening, it was then held back until next February, but is now rescheduled to open at US cinemas on Boxing Day.
With United Artists' parent company MGM reportedly experiencing financing difficulties on its own films, the future for Cruise's company now looks increasingly bleak. But a joint MGM-UA statement yesterday insisted the company was moving forward.
"Nothing will change in regard to Cruise's involvement with UA, and he continues to have a substantial ownership interest in the company," it read. "Furthermore, Cruise and Wagner will continue to work on film projects together."
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Tom Cruise splits from long-time partner
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Tom Cruise is splitting from his long-time business and production partner Paula Wagner, who is resigning as chief executive of United Artists, the legendary studio that the pair was trying to revive, the Hollywood Reporter said.
The report said the development marks the end of the Cruise/Wagner partnership, which has been one of the tightest in Hollywood since 1993. But publicly both sides are insisting they will continue to work on projects together.
A joint MGM-UA statement late yesterday said Wagner will continue to be a part owner of UA and hold a significant stake in the company's future success.
"Nothing will change in regard to Cruise's involvement with UA, and he continues to have a substantial ownership interest in the company. Furthermore, Cruise and Wagner will continue to work on film projects together," the statement said.
Wagner and Cruise took over United Artists in 2006 as the controversial star and Scientology advocate looked to reverse a string of box office disappointments.
However their first two projects at the legendary studio, founded in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, have been dogged with problems. The Iraq War polemic Lions for Lambs earned just $US15 million ($17.2 million) at the box office, while Cruise's current project the Hitler assassination drama Valkyrie has been repeatedly postponed and is now scheduled for release this December in the US.
The split of Cruise and Wagner came just two weeks after Wagner's husband Rick Nicita, also split with the star, with many in Hollywood seeing the development as a reflection of Cruise's unhappiness with the downward spiral his career seems to be taking.
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Tom Cruise and his longtime production partner, Paula Wagner, are no longer United, E! Online reports. Wagner announced earlier this week that she’s leaving her chief executive post at the new United Artists – the nearly century-old studio she and Cruise resurrected after losing their spot at Paramount in 2006 – to pursue projects independently. “I support her in anything she does,” Cruise said in a statement yesterday. According to L.A. Weekly’s Deadline Hollywood blog, her departure is directly related to Cruise’s trouble-plagued World War II thriller “Valkyrie.” “Everyone recognized that Paula has been a disaster,” the source snitched. “But to (Tom’s) credit, he wanted her to have an exit with honor.”
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Symbol starts with, company matches.
The movie company is concerned that Cruise's behavior hurt his most recent film, "Mission: Impossible 3," said the report.
"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal . "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
A statement from Cruise/Wagner Productions tried to characterize the split as more of a mutual decision.
"Agents for Cruise/Wagner Production Company ceased negotiations with Paramount over a week ago and has since secured independent financing," said the spokesman for the firm.
Paula Wagner, Cruise's partner, told the Journal that Cruise/Wagner Productions had decided to set up its own independent operation, backed by two unnamed hedge funds. She also noted in her comments to the Journal that Cruise had made Paramount vast sums of money over the years.
Cruise has worked with Paramount on hit films such as "Mission: Impossible," "Top Gun" and "Days of Thunder."
But speculation has been on the rise that Cruise, and mega-stars in general, are not worth the price , especially when personal behavior intrudes on their public persona.
Cruise has starred in 27 movies producing an average box office gross of $99.9 million, according to The-Movie-Times.com, an online Hollywood database.
The database estimates that the total gross of his movies has been $2.6 billion, good for No. 5 among all actors, as 13 of his films have done U.S. box office of $100 million or better. Only Tom Hanks, with 14 $100 million films, has done better.
In June 2006 Cruise took the No.1 spot on Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's 100 most powerful stars. In the last 10 years all but one of his movies have grossed more than $200 million worldwide. His top-grossing movie was "War of the Worlds" (2005), which topped $590 million around the world.
His pay has been among the tops in the industry. He received $75 million for "Mission Impossible II," according to Movie-Times.com. The film is his No. 2 best grossing film, with worldwide box office of $420.4 million.
But "Mission Impossible III," which came out in May, was seen as a disappointment, with a $47.7 million opening weekend at U.S. theaters, below the $65 million to $70 million that had been projected by some box office trackers. The film debuted in 4,054 theaters, the fourth largest debut to that point.
Still box office tracking service Box Office Mojo puts the worldwide gross of "Mission Impossible III" at $393 million.
"Internationally, Cruise is an even bigger draw," said Brandon Gray president and publisher of Box Office Mojo.
However Hollywood's highest accolade - an Oscar - has eluded Cruise, despite three acting nominations for his roles in "Magnolia", "Jerry Maguire" and "Born on the Fourth of July."
In May 2006, a USA/Today poll showed his public approval rating had slipped to 35 percent. Many of those polled cited his blunt criticism of actress Brooke Shield's treatment for depression and of psychiatry in general.
In 2005, he became the butt of jokes for a manic, couch-hopping TV appearance declaring his love for girlfriend Katie Holmes on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Who needs Mad Mel and Cruisazy Tom?
Ugly Divorce: Paramount and Tom Cruise Sever Ties
Aug. 22, 2006 — -- Paramount Pictures is terminating its 14-year relationship with Tom Cruise -- one of the most successful actors in Hollywood history -- because of the actor's off-screen behavior, according to a report published late Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.
"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone told The Wall Street Journal. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
Viacom is the parent company of Paramount, the studio where Cruise/Wagner Productions, Cruise's production company, has maintained offices since 1992.
Cruise's partner, Paula Wagner, told the Associated Press that negotiations on a new contract simply fizzled.
The deal in recent years paid Cruise and Wagner up to $10 million a year to develop films and operate an office on the Paramount lot, the Journal said Wednesday. It was reported that Cruise and the studio had been discussing a less lucrative deal. A spokeswoman for Cruise/Wagner Productions declined to comment on the Journal story.
Cruise's box office success is legendary, but his recent films have been overshadowed by his personal antics. These episodes include his infamous May 2005 couch-jumping interview on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, and his war of words with Brooke Shields over postpartum depression and the use of prescription drugs
The Journal story said Paramount believes that Cruise's behavior hurt box office receipts of the most recent "Mission: Impossible" movie, which was released in May.
His recent film, "Mission: Impossible III," has grossed $133 million domestically and $390 million worldwide. But with a massive budget, estimated at $150 million, it was far beneath expectations.
But Cruise still has considerable clout. In June, he ranked No. 1 on Forbes' "Celebrity 100" list of the most powerful stars in Hollywood, with estimated earnings in 2005 of $67 million.
"Cruise is Hollywood's most bankable actor," Forbes said, just weeks before "M:I:3" opened. The magazine cited "a combination of his awesome earnings from 'War of the Worlds' and the media onslaught following his pairing with actress Katie Holmes."
"War of the Worlds" -- with worldwide box office revenues of $591 million -- is ranked as the 22nd biggest international blockbuster.
The 44-year-old actor has worked hard for the title as Hollywood's most bankable star. Since his breakout performance in 1983's "Risky Business," he's starred in such hits as "Top Gun," "The Color of Money," "Rain Man," and "Jerry McGuire," earning three Oscar nominations.
Between 1986 and 2001, Cruise was the top box office draw a record six times, according to Quigley Publications' annual poll of movie exhibitors. The only actors to be named No. 1 five times are Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Bing Crosby and Burt Reynolds.
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Paula Wagner: Tom Cruise’s Former Producing Partner Explains What A Producer Actually Does
Paula Wagner is an unfamiliar name for many film-goers, but if you watch the first three Mission:Impossible films, you’ll notice they’re made by Cruise/Wagner Productions. Wagner formed the production company with Tom Cruise in 1993. The joint venture marked Wagner’s transition from casting agent at CAA to producer. And Cruise/Wagner Productions gave Cruise more control over projects he acted in, and more of the profits.
Under an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures, Cruise/Wagner Productions produced every one of Cruise’s films from Mission: Impossible (1996) to Valkyrie (2008). Other features made by the production company included The Others, Without Limits, Narc, Shattered Glass, Elizabethtown, and Death Race. While Cruise/Wagner closed it’s doors in 2008, after Paramount boss, Sumner Redstone, pulled the plug on his relationship with the production company, both Cruise and Wagner were established as powerful producers, with the lucrative partnership grossing more than $2.9 billion at the box office.
Since then, Wagner has produced two other Cruise projects– Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back– and moved into independent projects, including Chadwick Bosman’s Marshall (2017), a well-received true story about the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.
Wagner, as a result, knows how to co-ordinate the full gamut of film projects from big budget to smaller character-focused productions. In the following video by CookeOpticsTV below, she explains what the role of the film producer is.
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What caused paula wagner to leave ua as chief exec..
I’ve found some old stories that shed some light on why Paula Wagner ultimately left as Chief Exec. at MGM/UA:
Wagner to split from MGM
Paula Wagner is in talks to leave Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s United Artists label after falling out with the Hollywood studio over the financing and independence of the company.
Ms Wagner and Tom Cruise, her production partner, joined UA almost two years ago after the Hollywood star was fired by Paramount Pictures.
Harry Sloan, MGM’s chairman, gave the pair an equity stake in UA and autonomy to “green light” their own movies. The aim of the deal was to revive MGM and the historic UA label by bringing in two of Hollywood’s biggest names. The move was meant to prove to sceptical observers that Mr Sloan meant business with his plans to turn round MGM, which had fallen behind rival studios and scaled back its production business.
Ms Wagner and Mr Cruise were promised complete autonomy by MGM but the marriage has failed. UA executives hired by Ms Wagner have recently departed the company, apparently at the behest of MGM, which has caused friction.
Other senior executives have also been hired, which has caused a further deterioration in relations between Ms Wagner and Mr Sloan.
In addition, MGM has failed to raise financing to fund its own production slate. UA succeeded in raising $500m in a deal arranged by Merrill Lynch but although the money was to be used exclusively to fund UA movies there have been internal disagreements about whether the money can be spent on MGM films.
These tensions have stalled UA’s own plans, said a person familiar with the situation. Ms Wagner declined to comment. However, the person familiar with the situation said she planned to return to full-time movie production.
MGM also declined to comment. The studio came close to securing its own production fund last year but the plans were hit by the onset of the credit crunch.
Since then the company, which is owned by Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners, has also held negotiations with Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media group about a co-financing deal for several MGM films.
Mr Cruise and Ms Wagner will keep their equity stakes in UA. But Ms Wagner will leave her executive role after finishing post-production on Valkyrie , a second world war drama starring Mr Cruise. ( ft.com , August 14, 2008)
Tom Cruise’s Production Partner Bows Out
Tom Cruise’s longtime production partner, Paula Wagner, has announced that she is leaving her chief executive post at the new United Artists to pursue projects independently.
She will retain her coownership in UA, the nearly century-old studio that she and Cruise revived after losing their spot on the Paramount lot in 2006, and she’ll continue to work on her films that are already in the pipeline.
“I love Paulaâ€”we have worked together and been friends for over 25 years,” Cruise said in a statement Thursday. “I support her in anything she does. Paula is an incredibly smart and talented producer, and I look forward to working together producing films in the future.”
“Iâ€™ve truly relished working with my longtime partner Tom Cruise to revitalize United Artists, and I am proud of all that weâ€™ve accomplished in the past two years, reinvigorating the brand and developing such a strong slate of films,” Wagner said in a statement Wednesday.
Wagner owns the UA shingle with Cruise, whose role at the company isn’t expected to be affected, and MGM.
“As much as Iâ€™ve enjoyed my time as an executive, I have longed to return to my true love, which is making movies, so thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve decided to do,” her statement continued. “I still believe in our vision for UA, and I am confident that [MGM CEO] Harry Sloan and our colleagues at MGM will see that vision through to reality.”
Per Variety, she is expected to step down following the Dec. 26 release of Bryan Singer’s trouble-plagued World War II thriller, Valkyrie .
“This was very hard for Tom. Everyone recognized that Paula has been a disaster. But to his credit, he wanted her to have an exit with honor,” a source told L.A. Weekly’s Deadline Hollywood blog , which predicted the shakeup on Monday.
The “disaster” claim was in reference to the production problems plaguing Valkyrie and the box-office flop that was UA’s first effort, Lion for Lambs , both misfires that were rumored to be affecting the company’s financing deals. ( E! Online , August 13, 2008)
So… It seems to me Paula only left after unforseen problems with not making enough money for UA, according to Mr Sloan, and that she will continue to work with Tom for C/W Productions.
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Who Loses in the Split Paramount or Cruise?
Chairman and CEO of Viacom Sumner Redstone with actor Tom Cruise, and actress Katie Holmes in happier times: a screening of "Mission: Impossible III" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 4, 2006, in Hollywood, California.
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Inside Tom Cruise's shocking split with Paramount
Inside Tom Cruise's shocking split with Paramount: With Viacom's CEO citing the star's ''recent conduct'' as a reason, Cruise's camp fires back. What's next for the actor?
Daniel Fierman is a staff writer for EW
Fourteen years. Ten movies. $1 billion.
That impressive streak was brought to an end on Tuesday, when the news broke that Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures were no longer in business together. There had been rumors that a divorce was brewing ever since Mission: Impossible III underperformed at the box office, earning $82 million less than the previous installment. But the split became public when Sumner Redstone — CEO of Viacom, Paramount’s parent company — told The Wall Street Journal that the studio’s long-standing pact with Cruise/Wagner Productions had been terminated due to the superstar’s erratic behavior. ”As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal,” he was quoted as saying. ”His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.”
It was a shocking rebuke from one of the most powerful men in the media industry — and a move that signaled that the studio’s ever-escalating battle with talent over salaries (and behavior) is reaching a boiling point. Although Viacom sources confirm Redstone’s account of events, it wasn’t long before the Cruise camp fired back. According to a Cruise/Wagner rep, the company broke off talks with Paramount over a week ago and is setting up an independent operation with the help of outside financing. ”This has been a dream of Tom and mine,” Cruise’s longtime business partner Paula Wagner told the Journal .
No matter who is telling the truth, the $1 billion question is obvious: What’s next? It’s too early for a definitive answer, but it seems something radical is in order. One possible route: comedy. We’re not kidding. EW has learned that in the past few months, the actor has been meeting with Judd Apatow, co-writer and director of The 40 Year-Old Virgin and producer of Anchorman and Talladega Nights , to bounce around ideas for a film. Yes, 10 years after Jerry Maguire , the Mission: Impossible III star could be ready to show us the funny again.
”He’s quietly one of the great comedic actors in the country,” Apatow says, citing Risky Business , Jerry Maguire , and Rain Man as ”some of my favorite movies of all time…. We’ve had great conversations — I hope something real comes out of it,” Apatow adds. Working with a guy who loves him might make a lot of sense for Cruise, because at this point he seems to need all the fans he can get. (Additional reporting by Josh Rottenberg and Adam B. Vary)
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