Thursday, August 24, 2006

Redstone v. Cruise

In this corner, irascible Sumner Redstone, who survived a hotel fire by holding onto a window with one terribly burned hand and came back from surgery no one thought he could survive. And in this corner, couch-jumping, baby-hiding tabloid cover boy Tom Cruise, also known for holding on (except fo his two wives). Redstone says he let Cruise's production company go because of his off-screen behavior. Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner say he can't fire them, they quit, and that they have a better offer including funding from two mysterious unnamed hedge funds.

A plague on both their houses. Unfortunately, it looks like both sides will come out of this better off, financially if not reputationally. Paramount can still bid on any Cruise project that looks good to them, and if they end up paying more for one it will be outweighed by what they save on the deals they don't do. Cruise will probably make more money, with the chance to shop around his projects to the highest bidder, though studios might want to take a look at "Lady in the Water" (the deal, not, goodness knows, the movie). M. Knight Shyamalan's huffy public quit/fire with Disney when they wanted changes in his script turned out to be not a case of the artist standing up for creative integrity against the sterile and callous forces of corporate thuggery but the case of someone who ignored the Talmudic advice about reality checks: "When three people tell you you're sick, lie down." A movie star is a brand, and a production company, even one headed up by a movie star, is still a business. Tom? Feeling a bit feverish?

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