CATEGORIES Deals, MGM, Sony, United Artists, Celebrities and Controversy, Distribution, Newsstand, Tom Cruise, Movie News, CinematicalOver at her Risky Biz Blog, Anne Thompson has a piece up on the big scoop around United Artists. United Artists has been a studio in limbo ever since Sony acquired both MGM and UA in April of last year. No one was sure if Sony would simply absorb the other company, or whether they would continue to use their brand and logo as a distribution arm. Today the mystery is over, with MGM announcing today that Tom Cruise and his partner Paula Wagner will help relaunch the new United Artists as partner-operators. This finally lands Cruise at a new studio, after being released by Paramount following the disappointing box office take for M:I3, and displeasure over Tom's couch-jumping antics. The new deal gives Cruise and Wagner the ability to greenlight their own projects, and will serve as a pipeline for them to distribute their own content. What remains unclear is how this newly announced deal will affect the new Cruise/Wagner production company that was cobbled together by investors once Tom left Paramount.
Since 1919 United Artists has had a storied past since inception and creation by four of the film world's biggest stars at the time: Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and director D.W. Griffith. It enjoyed both success and failures in the intervening years, giving birth to such franchises as the Rocky, James Bond, and Pink Panther films as part of its highs, and being the studio behind the Heaven's Gate debacle as part of the lows, which left it essentially bankrupt in 1980. The press release lauds Cruise as, "one of the most successful, critically acclaimed and sought after movie stars in the world. Cruise's films have resulted in worldwide box office totals of approximately US$6 billion and his last two films, War of the Worlds and Mission: Impossible III have grossed nearly US$1 billion worldwide." United Artists is hoping that both Cruise name and star power will help bring them home some of that bling.