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Tom Cruise lands a new gig

Lisa Napoli Nov 2, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Now for something completely different. Tom Cruise got a new job today. He was very publicly dumped by Paramount Pictures over the summer. But Cruise has reinvented himself in a way that’s raising eyebrows even in Hollywood, where not much comes as a surprise. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli has the story.

LISA NAPOLI: Not even the most cynical observers of Tinseltown could believe the news: Tom Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner are bringing the legendary film studio United Artists back to life.

NIKKI FINKE: My reaction to this was, “Wait a minute, I must still be dreaming here. Did I wake up and Tom Cruise has bought a studio?”

That’s Deadline Hollywood columnist Nikki Finke. She says the partnership set up by MGM transcends the garden variety vanity deal that most stars cut with studios. You know, to give them an office on the lot or get them to pay for the jet.

FINKE: Now you literally have the lunatics running the asylum.

Cruise’s old studio may not have wanted him around any more. But Nicole Sperling of the Hollywood Reporter says the best revenge is getting your own studio:

NICOLE SPERLING: Now they can make four movies a year, they’ll be financed and marketed and distributed by MGM so that in and of itself is a big deal.

As is the fact that Cruise can star in movies for other studios, too. Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. But Michael Speier of Variety says even if the whole arrangement’s a risk, it’s a win for Cruise and a win for MGM.

MICHAEL SPEIER: He’s still a big movie star and that’s great. So just even if they get one Tom Cruise movie out of it and it does well, then that’s great for them because, you know, before yesterday they had no Tom Cruise movies.

And today Cruise can add his name to the list of United Artist denizens like Chaplin, Pickford, Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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