The disappointing box office for Knight and Day ($74 million domestic; $190 million worldwide) has led Paramount to cut Tom Cruise’s up-front salary for Mission: Impossible 4. Vulture reports that Cruise has “agreed to be paid ‘scale’ (that is, Screen Actors Guild minimum payment) for his acting in the franchise’s fourth installment, but will “get a nice back-end after cash break-even.” Basically, Cruise gets nothing up-front but will make money after the studio recoups its investment. With an expected budget of $135 million and let’s say another $135m for P&A, Cruise still probably comes out with a fat paycheck.
I’ll leave the arguments about Tom Cruise’s star power to others. I’m not his agent or an executive. I think he’s a good actor with plenty of charisma and he basically carried Knight and Day. I’m glad that he’ll return for Mission: Impossible 4 (which comes out on December 16, 2011) and I’m even happier that Brad Bird (The Incredibles) is directing.