In Sharon Waxman’s latest box-office-slump story in the N.Y. Times, she reports that Paramount executives are seeing no evidence of any War of the Worlds revenue slippage due to Tom Cruise’s eccentric behavior on the promo circuit. “[Cruise’s] audience came out in greater numbers than ever before” for this film, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Friedman tells Waxman. “I think the world separates the star and celebrity from a movie actor and the performance on screen, and this shows that completely.” I’m hearing this is precisely what Par execs are not discerning in the tea leaves. I’m told there’s been some muttering in the hallways that War could have made closer to $140 or $150 million over the first six days if Cruise hadn’t acted like a wackjobber on the talk shows. The fact that Waxman quotes notoriously obsequious industry cheerleader Paul Dergarabedian as supporting the Cruise-linkage theory speaks volumes. “Those who had in mind that they wanted to see the movie, [the Cruise shenanigans] didn’t have any effect,” he said. “But if you’re a person who has a strong feeling about what Tom Cruise said, you might say, ‘I don’t want to support that movie.'”