| Main |

The All-Tom-Cruise Channel

Redstone_smaller Sumner Redstone's timing is perfect: just when every drop had been wrung out of the Mel Gibson story, Redstone gives us an excuse to replay all the Tom Cruise nuttiness from the last couple of years. Thanks, Sumner! And to think Viacom doesn't even own a cable news channel....

Anyway, check out this analysis from the Times' Charles Duhigg, Chris Gaither and Kim Christensen. But wait, there's more! Here's our editorial, a nice follow-up interview with Redstone, and a piece on candor in Hollywood (surprisingly, it's not short).

My personal favorite interpretation of the episode came from a publicist who has worked with several studios: it was all about spinning Wall Street. Viacom stock had been in a long slump, despite the spin-off of CBS and Infinity that was supposed to excite investors. With other studios across town jettisoning production contracts, Paramount was under pressure to bring its deal with Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner, down to more reasonable terms. But Cruise/Wagner balked at Paramount's offer and started shopping around for another backer inside and outside Hollywood. This put Viacom in an awkward spot as its contract with Cruise/Wagner neared its end: if Cruise announced a deal with someone else, Wall Street analysts would say that Paramount had just lost its biggest star, and the stock would take another hit. So Redstone moved first, saying (to the Wall Street Journal, mind you, not Variety or the Hollywood Reporter) that he was casting Cruise off because the guy's weird effusions had cost Paramount $100 million to $150 million in lost receipts on "Mission Impossible: III." In other words, Cruise had become a liability, not an asset.

The affair reminds me of Lakers owner Jerry Buss dumping Shaq in 2004. The calculation was about the same: huge paycheck, increasing risks, declining returns. But if Shaq is the model, Tom Cruise has at least a few blockbusters left in him. Stay in shape, Tom, and find a co-star who can put up even bigger numbers than you do.

The photo of Redstone and Cruise at a "Mission: Impossible III" screening was taken by Lester Cohen of WireImage.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The All-Tom-Cruise Channel:

» Disney Channel Games from Disney Channel Games
[Read More]


The comments to this entry are closed.

Our Blogger
Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

Search this blog

Subscribe to this Blog - What is RSS?

Now Playing

Where I've Been Lately