Skip to comments.Money Is the Real Star in Hollywood (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 08/24/2006 4:29:03 AM PDT by abb
Celebrity matters, but the bottom line is what counts for studio chiefs. Tom Cruise's dismissal is evidence of a changing financial landscape.
Being a big Hollywood star means getting luxury cars as gifts, visiting exotic locales on the studios' dime and cashing checks with lots of zeros.
But the traditional and often extreme deference shown A-listers is changing along with the economics of Hollywood, as demonstrated by Tuesday's public eviction of Tom Cruise from Paramount Pictures' back lot.
The Internet is growing fast as an entertainment channel, and the cost of producing blockbusters is rising almost as quickly. That emboldens studio chiefs working for publicly traded companies to challenge the fickle power of the most popular stars.
To be sure, celebrity still matters, blockbusters still fill theater seats and movie stars still live like, well, movie stars. But the same shifts in technology and audience tastes that changed the music industry are starting to influence the movie business.
At the same time, media companies afraid of missing the next big thing are making big-budget bets on no-name Internet stars who draw millions of viewers.
"Celebrity is less powerful now," said Jeff Fenster, an executive at Jive Records who helped discover pop superstars Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. "Just because a film or album stars a big-name celebrity doesn't guarantee success anymore. And Hollywood craves making money above everything else."
Even Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount owner Viacom Inc., suggested in an interview Wednesday that parting with Cruise after a 14-year business relationship had more to do with the profitability of his recent films than with his off-screen antics.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Much, much more...
Shocking Honesty vs. Tom Cruise
Star Is Collateral Damage of Studios' Profit Push
The Decline of the Cruise Juggernaut A Brief History
In Hollywood, Candor Is Playing a Bigger Part
Mission Imperative for a Star: Be Likable
Allies Start to Escalate Dispute Between Cruise and Viacom
For Hedge Funds, Backing Cruise Could Prove to Be a Risky Business
Who gets what?
Criticism of Tom Cruise stirs Hollywood debate
Biz eyeing economics of Cruise-Par breakup
Viacom's Rationale: Cruise Is Risky Business
Studio split could give Cruise more control
There is a lot of truth in that. But it's not the whole truth.
Wholesome, family movies make a huge amount of money, very reliably. Bible-based movies have a huge built-in audience -- people who may not ever go to see a movie under other circumstances. If a studio wants to maximize profits, I believe they will lean toward making "red state" movies (they'll make plenty of money in the "blue states" as well).
But Hollywood (like the news media) does not want to go in that direction. These people are losing audience, they are losing influence. And they want to keep doing the same thing over and over.
I think their agenda matters more to them than the money. I think Tom Cruise is not as profitable as he once was (domestic gross of MI:3 did not make back development costs) and -- more importantly -- he embarasses them and hurts the furtherance of their agenda because he is an obvious loon.
"the cost of producing blockbusters is rising almost as quickly"
Is there any proof of this? It seems the article itself is equating "star power" with "blockbuster". But whether it is a low budget film by Mel Gibson or Michael Moore with no "stars" or a low budget cartoon, it seems that they become blockbusters as often as the big budget flicks with "stars".
Often the reverse is what happens. Look back over history. A nobody has a prominent role in a film that becomes a blockbuster. Then that nobody suddenly becomes a somebody and is annointed a star. So, in fact the cause and effect is backwards. Stars don't make blockbusters. Blockbusters make stars.
The only 2 movies I can stand to watch Cruise in are Rainman and The Color of Money. And if Paul Newman hadn't been in "Color" I doubt I would've had any desire to see it.
I think the movie industry has started to realize that a combination of excessive production costs, too-high movie star salaries, and overly-liberal agenda is turning off WAY too many moviegoers even in the so-called blue states. As such, expect a lot more less-expensive movies, forcing movie stars to earn the keep through profits from the film instead of being paid upfront, and less liberal agendas, at least from the big studios.
I should note that Brad Pitt only took US$1.5 million up front for The Assassination of Jesse James, preferring to earn his keep from profits on the film. Pitt could have earned US$25 million up front, but I think he saw the fiasco of Jim Carrey earning way too much money up front for The Cable Guy and decided that for good PR reasons, taking only US$1.5 million up front would be a better way to go. Also, it was said that Michael Moore should have completed his newest film Sicko by the fall of 2006, but now it appears that due to financing issues (too many movie companies know how polarizing Moore can be) Moore might not release the film until spring 2007.
I have no dog in this fight , since I seldom watch any movies made after 1970.
I wil just say this: I am glad to see the little prick get canned.
Cruise's apparent greed makes him an ideal candidate to play the role of scapegoat. Perhaps Viacom simply reached the limit on the quantity of episodes they can successfully resurrect as silver screen summer blockbusters by trying to milk a makeover of a 1960s TV series canceled decades ago.
Said Snow, "Greed, boy! That's what got you bit! Greed!!"
Cruise Flap a Set Piece?
Bluster between Paramount and CAA may be little more than playacting as the two camps continue to do brisk business.