He's like that wreck on the side of the highway.
You don't want to see it, and yet you can't look away. You swear you don't care, but can't stop wondering about it. We are talking, of course, Tom Cruise, star of Mission: Impossible III. While the kookiness of Cruise has been well documented in recent months, it may finally be taking its toll on the star's box office appeal, writes Kim Masters in a column for Slate.com.
Over the Hedge, Disney's most recent animated venture, is currently out-grossing MI:3. Yes, talking animals are outdoing Cruise. And they're not even Pixar animals!
Not that MI:3 is tanking outright, having made over $300 million thus far. But lofty expectations and a lackluster performance have some questioning whether Cruise has lost it -- on so many levels.
A weak MI:3 performance is enough to give any studio pause, but to make matters worse, Cruise's production company's deal with Paramount will expire in a few weeks. Negotiations to renew are not underway.
If you're Cruise, you need to do more than find a home for the production company -- you need to find a role. One that will revive the actor's appeal. Apparently, Cruise doesn't grasp that his image is taking a beating, and his reps aren't exactly dying to articulate it to him.
"You've got to be very careful in conversations with him," a source close to Cruise says. "Tom is not ever going to face facts."
One marketing executive says that Cruise "needs to go away" and should just stay out of sight for a year, allowing the public time to get over what he calls "the cootie factor."
For now, Cruise said to be looking at a couple of projects. A member of his management team says he'd like to see Cruise in a comedic, Jerry Maguire-style role, one that caters to women, where he plays a likable guy who laughs and smiles. Meanwhile, the agency source called it "unfair" for the actor "to be punished for stuff he did last year."
Stuff? What stuff? Has Tom Cruise even been in the news lately? Who is he dating? What are his religious beliefs? Whatever. We're pretty sure that someone will show him the money again, lunacy or not.