The topic is bound to come up among the Hollywood chatterers speculating on his future roles for United Artists. In his Vanity Fair piece on Sumner Redstone, Bryan Burrough reprises how Cruise's potshots at Brooke Shields and all the nonsense on "Oprah" turned off women moviegoers. It's a questionable premise, but one that Redstone & Co. won't let go, pointing to audience research. Here's Redstone:
"When did I decide [to fire him]?'' Redstone asks. "I don't know. When he was on the Today show? When he was jumping on a couch at Oprah? He changed his handler, you know, to his sisterónot a good idea. His behavior was entirely unacceptable to [my wife,] Paula, and to the rest of the world. He didn't just turn one [woman] off. He turned off all women, and a lot of men.Ö He was embarrassing the studio. And he was costing us a lot of money. We felt he cost us $100, $150 million on Mission: Impossible III. It was the best picture of the three, and it did the worst.''
Redstone wound up castigating Cruise to a WSJ reporter, who broke the story. Redstone acknowledged to Burrough the the comments were unnecessary. But never mind that - what about the potential backlash among women moviegoers? Or was that just a ruse to push Cruise out the door?