Peter Lauria‘s 8.14 report in the N.Y. Post‘s business section about the downfall of Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner within the MGM corporate family (Harry Sloan, Mary Parent, etc.) is the clearest and most concise-sounding assessment I’ve read so far. Having reached the conclusion that Cruise-Wagner “don’t know what they’re doing,” Sloan essentially “wants to get his hands on $500 million in financing that UA raised from Merrill Lynch last year so that he can help fund MGM movies,” and putting Parent in charge of the whole magillah is key to his strategy.
Lauria’s main points: (a) Cruise is “on the verge of getting fired yet again” as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer CEO Harry Sloan looks to bring Cruise’s United Artists studio under the control of MGM production chief Mary Parent; (b)
a source saying that Sloan “made a mistake in backing those two, and now he’s trying to figure out how to rectify it”; (c) Wagner’s departure from UA is due to Sloan has having “effectively neutered Cruise and Wagner by putting Parent — a well-regarded Hollywood talent who MGM hired in March to oversee theatrical productions — in charge of UA”; (d) Wagner’s decision to leave is therefore a “protest” move, and that “her ego won’t stand for Parent being put in charge]…she’d be humiliated if she stayed there”; and (e) Sloan is likely to extend a feather-smoothing production deal to Wagner, meaning that UA would “continue to operate as an independent company” blah, blah, and that the “current management structure for UA has not changed…Tom and Paula are still running the day-to-day operations.”