Back-end profit participation is a particularly unattractive term; an ugly, clunky piece of accountancy-speak created by an industry — Hollywood — that arguably is itself an ugly, clunky piece of accountancy-speak that serves little other purpose than to generate massive quantities of money for narcissists who peddle empty bombast and spectacle as entertainment and movies filled with sound and fury signifying nothing. In essence, back-end profit participation means the chance to make more money after the film breaks even. Movie stars often take a lower fee than usual in exchange for more points at the back end because they’re betting on a big success.
One of those empty bombastic spectacles is the Mission: Impossible series*, a collection of action adventures created to enable Tom Cruise’s addiction to adrenaline. Pre-production on the latest installment has been halted, reportedly due to Cruise’s demand from Paramount for a bigger chunk of the back-end. He is “looking to match or exceed what he is getting paid by Universal for starring in The Mummy,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. There’s little doubt, though, that the movie will still go ahead. The Mission: Impossible movies have been massive successes for Paramount, so the studio will more than likely give in to Cruise’s demand. Perhaps in return they will ask him to perform a stunt even more ridiculous than this.
*Full Disclosure: I really enjoy the Mission Impossible movies, so yeah, I’m a hypocrite. You’re free to disavow me.