November 4, 2006
Branding: Tom Cruise is Top Gun at United Artists
The news this week is that Tom Cruise plans to put the "artist" back in to the largely defunct United Artists company name by taking it over with his producing partner Paula Wagner. Wagner says this move, which essentially puts the two of them in charge of the movie name, allows them an opportunity to "take a legendary brand name and bring it back to the present."
There have been some mighty critical posts out there about this move that comes fairly soon after Cruise’s dismissal from Paramount for his couch jumping antics during the build up to the release of Mission Impossible III .
- Michael at Popsurfing points out that because they only will be doing four movies a year and have the ability to green light films of $50 mil or less (not much these days), this is simply a "glorified shingle."
- Scott Kirsner at CinemaTech wonders if Cruise and Wagner will be loyal to the new company and not wind up making movies for other studios the way Spielberg has abandoned Dreamworks.
Nevertheless, this is a wonderful time to bring back to our screens a name that has been missing for too long. TomCruiseFan.com notes that United Artists was founded in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. It has given us some great movies, including Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and City Lights, Fairbanks' Three Musketeers and, more recently, Rocky, James Bond, the Pink Panther films and Hotel Rwanda. Cinematical notes that it also is responsible for Heaven’s Gate, a name that is to show biz what The Titanic is to the cruise biz.
But Cruise has never won an Oscar and he must be itching to show his old boss Sumner Redstone at Viacom (Paramount’s parent company) that he has let go (and publicly humiliated) one of the hottest properties in showbiz history.
If that’s not enough motivation to fund a truly great film, I don't know what is.
Posted by William Lozito at November 4, 2006 12:05 PM
Posted to Branding
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