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 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.