Tom Cruise, Paramount Pictures to part ways

MUMBAI: Paramount Pictures and actor Tom Cruise are set for a bitter break up of their 14-year old association. The decision was revealed by Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone, when he told the Wall Street Journal, "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal."

Reportedly, the Viacom chief was hinting at the movie star's off-screen behaviour. The actor's camp has taken strong offence of Redstone's comments as Paula Wagner, Cruise' longtime partner in his movie company Cruise/Wagner Productions, termed the outburst "offensive" and "undignified."

"Whatever remarks Redstone would make about Tom Cruise personally or as an actor have no bearing on what this business issue is. There must be another agenda that the studio has in mind to take one of their greatest assets and malign him this way," Wagner has been quoted in a Reuters report.

As reported, five Cruise starrers co-produced by Cruise/Wagner Productions -- these include the Mission: Impossible series -- have generated theatrical revenues totalling over $2 billion (1 billion pounds) worldwide during the past decade. Wagner claimed that Cruise-starrers accounted for about 15 per cent of the studio's overall box office gross over that period.

Wagner has also been quoted as saying that she and Cruise chose to leave the Paramount lot and establish a new venture financed through a private equity fund of $100 million.

The Los Angeles Times had earlier reported on Paramount's intention to slash the amount of money the studio pays for the production company. Paramount wanted Cruise/Wagner to cut the remuneration from $10 million to $2 million a year, it said.

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