There’s qualifying, there’s hedging and then there’s cotton-balling, and it seems like Variety‘s Nicole LaPorte and Chris Gardner went for option #3 when they used the word “may” in their story about Paramount deciding whether or not to renew its deal with Cruise-Wagner Prods. If Par re-ups with C/W, they said, the deal “may not come with the same points as it did before.” Everyone knows C/W is a devalued entity due to the antics of Nutter Tom, despite his highly respected and shrewd partner Paula Wagner. Nothing personal — it’s the money. For a guy whose aura is in the process of imploding , which resulte in M:I:3 only making $132,556,364 million domestic, and for a company that produced the unsuccessful Elizabethtown and Ask the Dust (both of which should have worked — I read both scripts a couple of years ago and was convinced both were at least semi-golden), C/W Prods. simply costs too much. So from the perspective of Paramount honcho Brad Grey, the negotiating slogan is probably something alone the lines of “take a markdown or find another home, guys.”