Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cruise, Wagner take over United Artists
In a surprising move announced Thursday morning, United Artists will be reborn under the leadership of Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise and MGM.

Cruise and Wagner, who recently ended their longtime production deal at Paramount Pictures, have taken a financial stake in the studio originally founded by movie greats Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith 85 years ago. The two will set the company's production slate with Wagner serving as CEO and Cruise starring and producing films for UA as well as film projects for other studios.

The studio plans to have a production slate of approximately four films each year, with MGM handling worldwide marketing and distribution. The films will be fully financed by MGM and its partners, including private equity firms which include Providence Equity Partners and Texas Pacific Group along with industry partners Comcast Corp. and Sony Corp. of America.

"Partnering with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, we have the ideal creative foundation from which to reintroduce the United Artists brand," said MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan in making the announcement. "Tom and Paula are the modern versions of the iconic founders of United Artists - Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith - and our partnership with them reaffirms our commitment to providing creative talent with a comfortable home at United Artists and a dedicated distribution partner in MGM. United Artists is once again the haven for independent filmmakers and a vital resource in developing quality filmed entertainment consistent with MGM's modern studio model.

"The agreement between Cruise/Wagner Prods. and MGM/UA, which takes effect immediately, was brokered by Cruise/Wagner's reps at CAA and attorney Bert Fields.


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