The story is not that Jim Carrey and manager Eric Gold are on the negotiating ropes — the story is that sanity is creeping into the judgment of big-studio execs who determine whether to green-light big-budget films. I’ve long felt that the system of paying $20 to $25 million fees and/or massive gross point percentages to big stars who can presumably “open” a film is a bad thing for the business as a whole. (Especially considering that a big name appearing in a shitty no-interest film never seems to make a financial difference.) Big talent should be decently compensated, but the really big money shouldn’t kick in until the film is a hit. (And if it’s not, too bad.) Everyone should share in the risk. In any case, it’s very, very encouraging that big studios are taking a second look at rich deals and developing a “cold feet syndrome,” as Slate‘s Kim Masters reports. “Paramount is pushing back Believe It or Not, a mega-budget project that was to be directed by Tim Burton and star Jim Carrey. The studio has instead switched Burton to a film version of Sweeney Todd, a far less expensive project belonging to DreamWorks (which is now owned by Paramount). This leaves Carrey in the awkward position of having had two major films vanish in the space of a few weeks. Before Believe It or Not, Carrey was supposed to be making Used Guys for Fox. That comedy, directed by Jay Roach (Meet the Parents), was also to star Ben Stiller. With millions of dollars spent in preparation, Fox pulled the plug recently as the budget climbed to $112 million.” Given the economics of the business these days”, Masters concludes that “cold feet” is “a syndrome that may occur with increasing frequency.” Could the Paramount and Fox turndowns be analagous to the first stirrings of anti-socialist fervor in Eastern Europe in 1989?