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Tom Cruise And His Studio Shake Up

Tom Cruise
AP
Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise's longtime producing partner Paula Wagner is leaving MGM's United Artist's label following conflict about the division's independence and financing.

Nearly two years ago Viacom'sParamount Pictures failed to renew Cruise and Wagner's deal with the studio and Sumner Redstone unceremoniously attacked Cruise. The two then joined United Artists, aiming to revive the famous brand, snagging a 30 percent stake in the company for the two of them, and securing $500 million in financing via Merrill Lynch to make four films a year for five years.

But Cruise and Wagner haven't had such a stellar track record. Their one film so far, "Lions for Lambs," had an A plus cast list, but it brought in only $15 million at the box office though it cost $35 million to produce. Then there are high marketing costs which means the studio lost a pretty penny on the film.

And then there's UA's second film, "Valkyrie," a World War II drama starring Tom Cruise. Around Hollywood, the movie is joked about frequently despite Tom Cruise starring and Bryan Singer directing. Tom Cruise in an eye patch playing a German army officer? The film has been delayed multiple times, reportedly costing over $65 million so far.

But the latest twist: now MGM is pushing up the release date of the film to December 26, from February 13. The studio says this decision was based on the fact that a screening of the film went well and they think it'll do really well over the holidays. More realistically, they probably think it could be an Oscar contender and want to get it in theaters in time. Ah Hollywood, where nothing is what it seems.

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