Tom Cruise’s MI:4 Pay Cut

Update! The Cruise camp said he won’t be receiving ‘scale’ but a drastically reduced up front payment for his services. Still, poor guy… would likely be down to his last 400 million by now, right?

For weeks now we’ve been discussing Paramount’s reluctance to bankroll another big-budget “Mission : Impossible” movie starring Tom Cruise – particuarly with Cruise’s latest film, “Knight and Day”, not exactly stealing the stubs at the box office.

Well, Paramount has agreed to do the film – but at a cost… to Cruise.

Cruise is said to have agreed to work for ‘scale’ (that’s the legal bare minimum wage) on the film, as opposed to scoring a sumly $508 million dollars up front like he did in previous years. Don’t worry too much about young Connor’s college fund though, ya see, Cruise mightn’t be getting a large chunk up front but as soon as “MI:4″ breaks even, or better still makes a sumly profit, then he’ll be getting some stout cheques. It’s sorta like the Jack Nicholson-”Batman” deal from a few years back – the deal that ultimately earned Nicholson millions in back-end dollars.

Says Vulture :

In short, the era of big stars saying, “Trust me, I’m famous! I got this!” seems mostly over: Despite his global recognition, Cruise’s latest film, Knight and Day, has managed to gross only about $74 million domestically and hasn’t yet cracked $190 million worldwide. As the box-office prowess of “first-dollar gross” megastars like Cruise wanes, they now must settle for being paid only after their products prove profitable. (Jim Carrey agreed to a similar deal, accepting nothing up front, to star in Yes Man, but still made off with an estimated $30 million-plus as a result.)

Just as interesting as Cruise’s salary restructuring is the involvement of Ellison, a rich kid who got his pilot’s license and spent years in stunt planes before going to film school and deciding he wanted to be part of the Hollywood jet set. In the past, Ellison has harbored acting as well as producing ambitions, often to his own detriment as a financier. Ellison starred in (and paid for) the disastrous 2006 MGM flop Flyboys.

More recently, Ellison’s acting ambitions cost him a green light: Ellison had secured Twilight star Taylor Lautner for another aerobatic flying action-drama called Northern Lights. But after Lautner was informed that Ellison was not only producing and financing the picture, but intending to star opposite him as well, Lautner bailed out.

Gotta wonder whether Ellison might try and coax Lautner into “MI:4″ though?

Meantime, let’s all start a can-drive for the Cruise family.