"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.
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.