'Teflon Tom' Not Likely to Sabotage 'Mission: Impossible III'

ByABC News
May 1, 2006, 12:22 PM

May 1, 2006 — -- Just like some politicians get re-elected despite controversies, Tom Cruise remains the Teflon box-office star.

Russell Crowe's outspoken, phone-throwing behavior may have hurt the well-reviewed "Cinderella Man," which tanked last summer at the box office. But Cruise's "War of the Worlds" was a $234 million smash, despite the star's war of words with Brooke Shields and mental health professionals over psychiatry and prescription drugs, and his couch-jumping escapade on Oprah Winfrey's couch.

"Last year people told me that they didn't want to see 'War of the Worlds' because they were so sick of Tom Cruise, and they thought he had kind of gone a little crazy," said movie reviewer Richard Roeper.

"'There's something about Tom Cruise the media can rip him to shreds; there are a lot of us who can say, 'Boy, I don't know what this guy's talkin' about with his personal life.' Yet as a movie star, not just domestically, but internationally, he's untouchable."

With Cruise reviving his super spy Ethan Hunt character for a third time, Hollywood's most bankable star and Paramount Pictures have taken a huge gamble. With a $150 million budget, it's the most expensive film Cruise has ever starred in.

The 43-year-old-actor earned $75 million, his biggest payday, by turning down an upfront salary in lieu of a backend deal for 30 percent of "Mission: Impossible II's" gross. He's working under a similar arrangement for the new movie, which opens Friday.

Underscoring how much is at stake, Cruise was in Europe last week, just days after his fiancée gave birth, to attend the promotional tour, spending hours signing autographs at red carpet premieres in London and Paris.

Cruise has starred in at least a dozen films that grossed more than $100 million domestically, and he remains popular abroad with "War of the Worlds" and "Mission: Impossible II" earning $591 million and $543 million outside the United States, making them among the highest grossing films ever produced.