Tom Cruise Takes a Pay Cut for Mission Impossible 4?

TomCruise Dec08 MTV star of Mission Impossible taking a pay cut for next filmTom Cruise is reportedly taking a “significant” cut in his up-front payday for the next installment of the Mission Impossible film franchise. He’s hoping to make up the difference on the back end with, what we can all assume, will be a bigger piece of the gross profits since no one is stupid enough to take net points on anything in Hollywood.

I saw this covered on a few sites but it appears to have originated over at New York Magazine’s VULTURE.

On that site they seem to think that this is due to the fact that Cruise isn’t the box-office guaranteed cash-cow that he once was but it might also have to do with the report that over half the budget is being ponied up by a single individual.

Either way, it’s great news! Why the hell Hollywood pays “stars” these 20-30 million dollar up-front payments on top of gross profit participation is anyone’s guess. It does nothing but bloat the already over bloated budgets that films are produced for these days.

Everyone knows the insanity of Hollywood Accounting is one of my favorite rants (I covered the fact that Warner Brothers still says Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix didn’t make a profit here) and if they made films for less there wouldn’t be any reason for wacky account practices, the profit would be obvious— oh, but maybe that’s the point. Maybe the studios don’t want to do that, it would make it hard to hide profits from loans to themselves,  paying another part of the same company to do work and making licensing deals to other divisions at bargain prices.

Every time a “lower budget” film comes out and becomes a huge hit I have a moment of hope that the studios will look at it and say “Hey, let’s make 10 films for $10 million rather then one for $100 million!” but it never happens.

Look at the smash hit of 2009: DISTRICT 9.  It was made for $30 million dollars.

In it’s opening weekend in the US it made $37 million and went on to make $211 million dollars in worldwide box office.

Add to that DVD, Video, Television licensing, Pay-Per-View, Cable Licensing, etc and who knows where that number ends up but I’d say you could easily add another 30 mil on top of that number if not today then at least in the next year or so.

Yes, I know that 30 mil was just the production budget and the studio probably spent another 30 on advertising and marketing— but that’s still only $60 million dollars.  It made over $115 million dollars just in US Domestic box-office.

What’s Jim Carrey or Wil Farrell’s up-front asking price these days to make bombs.. er… movies? (in all fairness, Jim Carrey reportedly did waive his up-front fee for the film Yes Men and according to Vulture made a cool 30 mil off it. 30 Million?? I have to admit being stunned that the film made $98 million in domestic boxoffice.)

Badly photoshop'd logo for MI:IV

Why isn’t Cruise putting up the money if he’s so hot to do the film and so sure it will make a profit?

They say the budget is set for around $135 Million Dollars, you saying that Cruise doesn’t have 68 mil sitting in a bank somewhere? Well, maybe not—- but at least 20 or 30.

He’s taking his “reduced” salary on this film, but why isn’t he doing it for nothing and taking his money off the back-end?  Does he really need the salary to live on? Hell, he could live on Katie’s money for a while if she has any left.

What is getting lost in all this is the fact that BRAD BIRD (the incredible two-time Oscar-winning creator behind Pixar’s The Incredibles and Ratatouille) is directing and for that reason alone it is fantastic news that this film is being made.

The next time one of these “stars” does a film and it bombs I would love it if someone would ask them in an interview “Do you feel guilty taking money for making such a piece of shit?”

Hell, let someone starting asking that of Will Farrell about the last ___ movies he’s made.  Take a vacation Will, write your own damn movie and finance it yourself. You can’t do any worse then you’ve been doing lately.