Tom Cruise is breaking up!
With Paramount Pictures, that is. The nutjob and the movie company ended their 14-year production deal on Wednesday as the chairman of the studio's parent company, Viacom, took a parting shot at the movie star's off-screen behavior.
"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his dealâ€¦ His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount," Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone (pictured, with insane person) told the Wall Street Journal.
According to the Washington Post, the actor's longtime partner in his movie company, Cruise/Wagner Productions, struck back at Redstone.
"Whatever remarks Mr. Redstone would make about Tom Cruise personally or as an actor have no bearing on what this business issue is," said Paula Wagner, adding that the remarks were offensive and undignified.
"There must be another agenda that the studio has in mind to take one of their greatest assets and malign him this way," she continued.
Five films starring Cruise and co-produced by his company, including the Mission: Impossible series, have generated revenues totaling $2 billion worldwide in the past decade. Wagner said his films accounted for 15 percent of the studio's overall box office bling over that period. Man, you've got to be pretty nuts to blow a deal that good!
Moreover, Wagner insisted that she and Cruise chose to leave Paramount.
"We, in fact, made a decision not to continue our relationship with Paramount Pictures," she said, adding that they plan to start a new venture financed by a private equity fund of $100 million. Whatever that means.
Viacom and Paramount declined further comment. The war of words between Redstone and Wagner marked a bitter end to one of the most lucrative production alliances between a major Hollywood studio and an A-list star, and it followed other signs that Cruise's stature had been damaged by one faux pas after another.
From his couch-hopping profession of love for Katie Holmes last year on The Oprah Winfrey Show to his strident denunciations of psychiatry and refusal to acknowledge that his daughter, Suri Cruise, does not exist, Tom hasn't been in the news for many positive things.
It goes beyond Oprah. A USA Today poll found that Cruise's star power has dimmed considerably, with more than half of those surveyed registering an "unfavorable" opinion of the actor. Many cited his off-screen behavior during the past year, including his public discussions of his faith in Scientology and his blunt criticism of actress Brooke Shields.
The departure of Cruise/Wagner from Paramount comes as all the studios are taking new measures to curb expenses in the face of escalating production and marketing costs and slumping growth in DVD revenues.
Cruise's latest film, Mission: Impossible III, amassed $393 million in ticket sales around the world, a nice sum but far less than his 2005 release from Paramount, War of the Worlds, which topped $590 million globally.