Yesterday marked the final day of Tom Cruise and long-time partner Paula Wagner's deal with Paramount Pictures, and the LA Times is reporting that the new contract on offer from Paramount significantly scales back its financial commitment to the duo. Though Wagner denies that she and Cruise ever got such a massive amount from the studio, insiders put their yearly take under the old contract at about $10 million "to cover overhead, project development and other costs." And I think I speak for everyone when I say "Holy crap!" to those numbers.

Paramount's new offer, while still generous, is a far cry from $10 million/year. According to unnamed people familiar with the deal, the studio is offering Cruise and Wagner in the neighborhood of "$2 million plus a $500,000 discretionary fund each year for two years." While this is being seen as yet another sign of Hollywood's newfangled interest in financial responsibility, the fact is that Cruise's shrinking box office potential is directly linked to his recent off-putting behavior.* That said, however, when a guy is expecting to earn a rumored $80 million from Mission: Impossible III, one wonders how much the loss of $8 million/year is going to mean to him.

*Yes, MI3 is making a ton of money. According to the LA Times, however, even if the film earns an additional $200 million from DVD sales, Paramount will only break even on the film, once Cruise's percentage is taken out.