The pact comes less than a week after Sumner Redstone, the CEO of Paramount parent company Viacom, announced the dissolution of a lucrative 14-year partnership between Cruise and the studio and blamed Cruise's odd offscreen behavior for the failure of his latest film Mission: Impossible III to meet box office expectations.
Cruise's new pact amounts to under than $3 million a year, according the Los Angeles Times, making it far less than the $10 million annually Cruise/Wagner had available under its last Paramount contract. But the sum is enough to set up a company and begin recruiting investors to fund new projects from Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner.
Daniel Snyder, the Redskins owner, joins a host of high-profile investors with both sports and movies in their portfolios, including Mark Cuban and Philip Anschutz. Together with Dwight Schar of NVR and Mark Shapiro of Six Flags, Snyder will now get a first shot at investing in the big-budget films Cruise stars in, including action pictures like the Mission: Impossible franchise, as well as the smaller, Cruise-free movies Cruise/Wagner aims to continue producing, like its 2003 release Shattered Glass.
"Dan Snyder and Mark Shapiro are proven winners and Paula and I look forward to many mutual successes," Cruise said in a release about the deal, which will allow Cruise/Wagner to work with any distributor. The release makes no mention of the $100 million in revolving hedge fund money Wagner said she and Cruise were securing at the time of Redstone's comments. But the First and Goal investors seem optimistic about Cruise/Wagner's prospects. Cruise's company, Shapiro said, "has an existing infrastructure in place, an appealing track record, and the most bankable movie star in the world as a partner." And so begins Tom Cruise, the start-up company.