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Does That Make It United Artist?

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 2, 2006

... or maybe Untied Artist? Tom Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner are going to run United Artists, the Associated Press reports here. Doesn't sound like a huge deal -- four films a year to start with -- but it does give Cruise the thing he prizes most: control.


But artists do not necessarily do well when they are in full charge of production. Francis Coppola ran aground trying to run his own studio. Tom ''Billy Jack'' Laughlin likewise. First Artists -- a company whose founders included Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand and Sidney Poitier -- didn't last. As deep as the pockets are for high-paid stars, an expensive movie failure can empty them pretty quickly.


Still, given that Cruise wants not only control but redemption -- since Paramount so unceremoniously dumped him -- I'm curious what he'll choose for his first United Artists project, and how aggressively commercial he will make it.

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